image borrowed from thisnext.com
Onyx and Alabaster
“There is something really appealing about the simplicity
of black & white images.”--Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Most formal affairs,
weddings, funerals or balls,
demand black & white.
Do we dream
in color--or is it
just mysterious shades
of the full
spectrum of black & white;
all black roses.
& white lions,
& alabaster statues?
Pondering this inquiry, I find it difficult
to pinpoint, to absolutely define;
perhaps dreamscapes are sepia-soaked,
or washed out starlit colors?
I am positive, though,
that I daydream in color,
all azure eyes, pink nipples, & red convertibles.
Growing up in the 1950’s, so much of what I recall
is definitely in black and white, from our first B&W television,
with its 12” perfectly round screen & its heavy oaken case,
still looking like a living room radio, to the Saturday
afternoon Hopalong Cassidy Matinees at the local cinema.
Oh sure, by 1955, we had all heard of Color TV, but only a few
friends from wealthy families had one--and there were only
a few select programs that were broadcast in color, WALT DISNEY
HOUR, variety shows, BONANZA & such.
As a kid,
it seemed to me that
the colors were
super-saturated & way overdone, with hot lighting, over-bright clothes
& sets, bizarre make-up & lipstick like the movies of the 20’s, feeling
very unnatural to my 11-year old sensitivities--much like I feel about
the modern craze of photoshopping color images, shifting them from
realistically-hued into the realm of abstract. So I was happy to
retreat to the majority of TV shows, comfortably presented in
stark & sharp-edged B&W.
Color was still a bit of an oddity, a weird & special treat; like that
one roll of color film for birthday or holiday parties;
I mean the horror movies & all the classic Noir
crime films were exclusively in black & white,
all wet brick & cobblestone night shots,
harvest moon & rampaging werewolves.
& villagers with torches & pitchforks, as
movie studio cinematographers made those
classics of light & shadow into an Art form.
By the 60’s & 70’s fewer & fewer movies were
shot on black & white stock, & those few
that were by Stanley Kramer, Peter Bogdanovich
and Woody Allen conjured up a nostalgic,
gritty & realistic view of the past. I cannot
even imagine TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
in gaudy technicolor.
Today, in our techno-savvy digital imagery world, it becomes an artful
& joyous experiment to showcase both our photoshopped color photos
& their black & white version/counterpart side-by-side. It is kind of
fascinating to me how many of our youth enjoy that juxtaposition as
we boomers & duffers recall the glory of decades past cataloged &
framed in glorious black & white.
Eyes are designed
to process color, but black
& white is restful.
Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics
would you like to hear me read this B&W poem to you?