Had I lived thirty thousand years ago, my palette for an artistic endeavor might have included a red, an ochre, and a common charcoal black. Start a fire. Have black. Draw.
When I came across a large pile of burned wood in the Blue Mountains in Oregon at the end of October, you would have thought I might have grabbed a few chunks of the gleaming charcoal; instead I grabbed the photo above – delighted with the optics of the furrowed black surfaces.
Back home, with charcoal on my mind, I noticed the wall of a neighbor's outside fireplace with its dark, charred surface acting as the backdrop for fall leaves.
Likewise, black asphalt in Joseph, Oregon.
When I look back through my photos, I am surprised how often black has some bit part to play in the overall images.
|A spider web with dew and one black rock.|
|A root against black-speckled granite and a wet chunk of basalt.|
|A highway railing and smoke stacks against a dawn sky.|
Even my car is black. Henry Ford, a pious Protestant, insisted that his early cars be offered only in black – a properly severe and humble color. I don't think of my black Subaru as being particularly inspired by my religious practice, but it does cheer my soul.
On the road, I recently noticed a long line of train cars - some of them black - and couldn't resist taking a photo. What pleased me was being able to see the same train from two perspectives at once. I was riding in a friend's car, which was a bright dark blue, so to emphasize the contrasts in the photo, I turned the image into black and white.