Someone Notices the Contrast of White on White


Good Evening:

My sincerest apologies to Counting Crows for slightly twisting the lyrics of one of their best songs. During my latest probably doomed efforts to organize 22,111 photographs (!), not including the dozens not yet downloaded from my Nikons and my iPhone (!!), I noticed that the Instant Minimalism series included a few hundred exploring textures and shadows involving the “color” (or lack thereof) white.

Exterior Wall of Orpheum Theater, San Francisco

White Onions

The irony is that white is rarely white; shadows have a way of affecting the color. Light is critical to the pictures in the Instant Minimalism series. Light casts the shadows that bring out the textures and help the human eye see what is really there.

I think the above picture represents a portion of a wall at Yerba Buena Park. I think.

“Diamonds 6.” From an exterior wall near Theater Artaud.

I do feel fairly certain that the pictures are color, not B&W–but not completely certain.

I didn’t have geotagging on my Coolpix 4300; who knows where this is.

Nature does a pretty good job with white; here are some mushrooms from the Civic Center Farmers Market. But note how nature knows when to add a little color:

White Cultivated Mushrooms at the Civic Center Farmers Market

The next one illustrates the never-ending change that is San Francisco. The last time I looked, this wall near the Museum of Modern Art looked nothing like this. But it’s been awhile and the wall probably looks still more different today.

Wall Near Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco

The next time you find yourself next to a “plain old white” wall, take a closer look. I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Vonn Scott Bair


12 responses »

    • Thanks for the compliment. One thing I have learned the hard way is that organizing photos by the date one uploads them to a computer is a very bad idea. When it comes to search for that one special picture of a bicyclist with a grill strapped to the back of his bike–a grill that was cooking his dinner as he rode!–one has no clue as to the album in which it’s hiding.

  1. I used to love taking monochromatic images on Kodachrome back in the day.

    In late afternoon or early in the day it wasn’t hard to push it in to reciprocity failure. (that is when the color emulsions do not behave and play nice together)

    • Planeman: As much as I appreciate the advent of digital photography, I hope that the techniques of Kodachrome, film in general, glass plates, true cyanotype, camera obscura, et alia, never get lost to history. True, it’s easier to run off a hundred shots in a day or more, and I could never have had the patience of Eugene Atget, of whom I shall always remain in awe. But great works of art in these media still lie awaiting their discovery. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  2. Such a simple idea photography the contrast between white and white. Absolutely beautiful. I really need to head back to SF i really enjoyed my time there 7 years ago in the mission.

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