Basse Rue in the old town of Annot
It was hard to choose whether to post this in color or black and white. Since I’ve got a thing going here, I decided to stick with the latter. You’ll just have to trust me that the indirect midmorning sunlight was muted in such a perfect way that the walls glowed. It’s the type of photo I’ll usually attempt at the wrong time of day and get nothing but shadows. This time I was pleasantly surprised.
My experience with the Leica has sparked a renewed appreciation for black and white—even when I’m shooting in color with a digital camera, as was the case here.
I pass this parking lot everyday on my walk home from work, and it always catches my eye. Usually there are a few unremarkable cars in the spaces, but on this day, maybe it was a little later or earlier than normal, the cars were gone. They had been replaced by an angular shadow that flattened the sense of depth and filled the emptiness. Not that anyone would confuse this with grainy Tri-X, but I thought I’d mention that I took this photo in color with my digital camera back when the Leica was in the shop. The walls and ground were mostly grays and tans to begin with, so I thought it would be more effective rendered in black and white.
Update: This photo is not typical subject matter for me. Generally my photos either have a clear subject, or the subject has a clear relationship to me. In this case, you could make the argument that the photo is subject-less. It’s a shadow in a empty lot. What’s more negative space than that? But there’s something I liked about it, even if I can’t quite articulate why—the interplay of geometric shapes, the feeling that the scene has been “designed”. I’ve been slowly working my way through Bruce Barnbaum’s book, The Art of Photography, and though it hasn’t quite had the impact I was hoping, this photo seems to be an expression of something he said in discussing the elements of composition:
“Most photographers start out with an overriding concern with subject matter. As time goes on and they become more sophisticated, their emphasis turns more toward studies of light and form and the wonderful relationships that exist among the elements of the scene…”
Last weekend we left behind foggy San Francisco to celebrate a birthday on sunny Angel Island. On the way back we stopped at Battery Spencer, one of my favorite spots to take in the grandeur of the Golden Gate. The bank of fog was concentrated over San Francisco, creating the impression that the Golden Gate Bridge was leading motorists directly into the clouds.