Friday, April 29, 2016

In Black and White

I have always loved en noir photography, A French term meaning Black and White. En noir photography is intriguing in nuanced tones that capture one's imagination while it evokes emotion. There are no distractions in Black and White as there often are in color photography. Instead just tonal subtlety allowing the mind's eye to explore the captured subject. 

"Color is everything, Black and White is more"
~Dominic Rouse~

Since last year I have been including Black and White photos amongst color snapshots in my blog posts. I've enjoyed adding an additional dimension to my posts and will continue in the mix. Recently I decided to experiment posting only Black and White photos. Not in place of my color photos on my blog, instead as an addition in something new by joining Instagram. Blogging will remain my same format, every two weeks I'll post stories woven into my photo essay and share my poetry. Earlier this week I started posting my Black and White photos onto Instagram, in an effort to share the mystery that en noir creates in emotional response. 

Photo above was taken in our downstairs Laundry room. Captured on my iPhone 6S on a rainy day this week.

"When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph in Black and White, you photograph their souls!"
~Ted Grant~

A photo I snapped in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, a historic farmers market while John and I were food shopping. I enjoy watching people as I find observation quite interesting. Secretly writing in my mind's eye imagined details of their life stories during our brief connection in time.  

I snapped this photo this past September in Lambertville, NJ during my Birthday celebration. John and I had driven there in our 1972 French car, a DS 21 Citroën. We had dinner reservations for that evening at one of our favorite French restaurants named Manon and parked outside the restaurant earlier in the day. It's fun to park right in front - French food/French car and conversation unfolds.

Late afternoon while antiquing we walked back to our car to put some bags in the trunk noticing this elderly gent near our car. My mind raced with query, could this guy think he's a dapper dresser, is he striking a pose? Hand on his face, legs crossed, he was pondering a thought. I couldn't resist taking this photo en noir capturing that moment in time.

Flowers when viewed in Black and White allow your mind's eye to color in its own floral hues. Your imagination creates the color you perceive. 

When I shared my poem I wrote for this post with John he said "it's deep, like you, but interesting". So below is my poetry that expresses and explains my love of Black and White photography. 

In Black and White...
There is mystery and intrigue layered in dimension within my minds perception versus the actual reality
A photographers awareness expressed and captured to promote exploration of the subject revealed in neutrality

In Black and White...
Excitement stimulates my imagination and I indulge in fanciful stories through observation enticed by the tonality
Emotions are conveyed and feelings portrayed for those who take the time to perceive the potentiality

In Black and White...
Interest increases in the tonal values and implied sentiments captured that seem to evoke sensuality
But photographed in both color and Black and White and then compared it becomes a nuanced subject depicted in duality.
© Vera

Photo is of a 32 inch standing Chinese Acupuncture Buddha on our Dining room's credenza. Once used for training in the acupuncture points it's hand carved out of a solid block of wood. I was fascinated when I found him.

Around Buddhas neck I've draped vintage rosaries from family members who have passed. I hold great reverence for rosaries that have been blessed and used in prayer, especially from loved ones. As I pass by during the day I feel the peaceful energy each rosary holds.

One rosary is from John's Uncle George who passed at age 103. A blessed rosary given to him from Pope John Paul ll, its crystals are Red. Its the Red one that is noticed first, as a designer I know eye goes to color. Yet when photographed in Black and White there are no color distractions competing for attention. Instead the photo clearly shows the acupuncture points and the writing markings of each. Personally I feel studying a subject through Black and White enables the mind's eye to appreciate the subject in whole. 

After we brought Buddha home that weekend a friend came over for dinner, an antiques junkie but not someone who collects Buddhas. As the evening progressed food and wine was enjoyed. During desert he suggested that the next party we host we should place Buddha on the Dining room table and put toothpicks with hors-d'oeuvres in the acupuncture points. Seriously hors- d'oeuvres ... I don't think so!

Photo taken on Halloween evening on my visit to the bathroom. We dined at Lily's on the Canal in Lambertville, NJ. Lily's is located in a rustic picturesque historic building on the Delaware Canal. Lily's is a favorite restaurant of ours, offering an eclectic inventive menu. Dining within the preserved integrity of the buildings original charm. Inside modern funky lighting design combines with the old architecture.  I took this photo en noir, lending a haunting Halloween charm of the handmade candle stick illuminating the old stones walls that have been in spots patched with rough cement.

I took this photo at twilight during the Popes visit to Philadelphia in September, 2015. The sky holds mystery and intrigue and many different things have been spotted in the clouds by many people including us. I had included this photo in a past post and because its dramatic in Black and White it has an encore presentation!

A peek into our sitting room seen reflected in an antique mirror that replaced the original glass of the antique salvaged shutter. The shutter was gifted to me by my son who was working on a remodeling of a 200 year old farmhouse in Buck's County, PA. The wood had taken on a gorgeous weathered texture and it is a very interesting décor wall piece. I love reflections photographed in Black and White allowing your mind to explore the contrast in its tonality.

A flickering candle on my countertop the other evening. A re-wined soy candle poured into a recycled Green glass wine bottle that I placed into a rustic chicken wire holder. 

"Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness."
~Anne Frank~

Photo taken en noir of Marcel our French Bull dog who happens to be our watchdog! He's made, OK was born in France, has flocked hair and is a bobble head. 

I appreciate your visits to rowhomesandcobblestones and the sweet comments you leave for me. I love reading each and every one of them. I am taking a month long blogging break, I need one desperately, it's been a year since I took a break. I will return back to Blog Land in June. During my break I will not post nor visit any blogs, but I will be posting my Black and White photos on Instagram. I hope when you get a chance you check them out. A link to my Instagram account is on the blogs sidebar. Click the icon and it will take you there. See you back here in June.



  1. WOW what an interesting post. I love it, all the beautiful black/white pictures, they are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing them with us.
    Your poem is very good, such a talented lady you are.

    Have a wonderful break from blogland and enjoy your time off.


  2. Hi Vera,
    I have been enjoying your Instagram posts very much! So glad you decided to do it. Do you have to remind yourself to post something like I do? LOL!
    Have a great weekend, xoxo Tina

  3. Hello Vera! I am so glad you have joined Instagram. It is a nice way to take a blog break but still be visible, creative and yet sit back and enjoy. Your black and whites are gorgeous, and I love a black and white palatte! Thank you for coming to visit my photos too. Love the one with the flowers! Have a wonderful break my friend.

  4. I have always loved Black and White in photography. My mother's brothers were professional photographers from after WW11 until the late 70's. I learned from them the power of black and white. You're so right about colour - while it can be glorious, it is distracting. A weathered old face is just a weathered old face in colour, whereas in Black and White the character, the personality shine through. When we had our wedding photos taken I asked for some Black and White, and my favourite photo from our daughter's wedding is en noir.
    I wish you a good break!

  5. Your posts are always so interesting, so interesting, so informational, and so beautiful, Vera! You truly have an artist's eye when it comes to photography, clay, style, and design. :) Enjoy your break, sweet friend! Soak up every relaxing moment and time to regroup and recenter. Peace & Love to you!

    xoxo laurie

  6. I think you have a gifted eye for choosing what to photograph in black and white, Vera, and that's one reason why you do it so successfully. The camera angle in the Citroën photo is sublime. My second favorite photo is the market. What a stunning capture. Perfect poem to accompany the photos. Well done. Enjoy your blog break. I'll try to get to IG, but I really don't spend much time there. I may have to start as so many of my blogger friends are posting there now. Hugs, Nancy

  7. "When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph in Black and White, you photograph their souls!"
    ~Ted Grant~

    i love that quote .. and really, it's true. such a necessary depth to reconsider photography.
    enjoy your time away from the blog world. we'll be here when you return and look forward to all you will share and us to glean. blessings.

  8. I love the quotes throughout this fabulous post, Vera. You always give us so much to ponder as you stretch our minds through your artistic photos and creative writings and poetry. I understand the need to step back and take a break from blogging, but I'm delighted you're posting on Instagram.
    Mary Alice

  9. Dear Vera,
    Enjoy your blog break.. I am not on Instagram so will have to wait till you return to view more of your beautiful photos.
    I love the black and white.. Beautiful post Vera.
    Thank you so much for visiting, and happy you enjoyed.

  10. Dear Vera, I love the beauty in black and white. Your photos are interesting and intriguing. You have such a talent for capturing moods and thoughts mixed with real moments.
    Always love your poetry. Enjoy your break. I get it and still working on mine doing less in blogland. I've been pondering Instagram too so I hope to see you there soon.
    Have a great weekend and month of May.
    Blessings, xo

  11. Beautiful photos....I loved the stories!
    Have a great weekend!!!

  12. Vera you have a deep and creative soul and you capture so much emotion in your black and white photo's. I agree when you look at a black and white you see the objects, person or feelings that the photo invokes. Beautiful post. Enjoy your blog break my friend.

  13. I am loving your black & white photos on Instagram.

    One of my all time favorite movies was The Artist - black & white and no dialogue. The viewer has to be observant the entire time to catch things.

  14. What great photos, Vera! Love the quote about black and white pics capturing someones soul. Glad you will be taking a much needed blogging break. Hope you have a restful time!

  15. The black and white does offer a different perspective, and I agree, it offers a look into the souls of those who are captured in it. I will be going to your Instagram to see more of your work. Thanks for sharing Vera :)

  16. I've loved black and white photography for a really long time, tonal as well. You chose some interesting subjects that lend themselves well towards the complexity of the many tones. The shot of your fabulous car is wonderful as well as the one in the market---the people just seem more fascinating shot this way.

    Enjoy your break. I need one as well but I think first I will try writing briefer and a bit more often...that might be the answer. I'll look for you on IG and would love if you'd visit me as well!


  17. Dearest Vera, your posts always touch my heart in a beautiful way. How I loved this post and I must say that I loved the quote by Ted true!

    Thinking of you, dear one. Thank you for blessing my heart this evening. Hugs!

  18. I love the "Film Noir" feel. Beautiful photos, Vera.

  19. Yes, always something hauntingly beautiful about black and white, and one can read into the foto what they want to see and feel. The Buddha on the dinning table works for me, yet the tooth pick acupuncture hors-d'œuvres creepy :)
    As for the dripping candles that foto nailed it for me! It's the hippy in me, a bit boho from the 70's where I had melted candles placed in groupings everywhere.

    I have the iPhone 6s Plus in silver, broke away from all those who had it in gold. But that's me a bit different.
    Love the foto's you captured from it.

    Enjoy your break, talk soon dear.

  20. Of course, this candle picture, this is my favourite. Vera Noir, jaja, I like it, I like iiiiit, and the words "Mystery and Intrigue", ahhhhh, so much... do you call it moody?
    Vera, you are one of these candles that add not only light, no, you add depth to it all. Never without your heavenly sense of humour :))
    Let´s get captured, yesyes, this night Beltane got me, so have a hug, my dear dear friend, Méa, the Noir one, hohohhh. Have a wonderful 1st of May

  21. What a great post with wonderful black and white photos! I really do love the effect that they create. A perfect post to stroll through on a dark, rainy day.

  22. Vera, your black and white photos are simply wonderful. My goodness, you can certainly see the detail more of the Buddha statue when you look at him in black and white. How special that you've kept the rosaries from loved ones. I have never seen red rosary beads before, how beautiful. Would love to see them sometime. I think it's true, one can really notice so many things when viewing black and white photos. The picture of the farmer's market is so interesting, and the quote by Ted Grant is fantastic, love that!

    Your poem is delightful, Vera. Black and white photography is very mysterious, and there's nothing more beautiful to me than a black and white photo. Thank you for sharing your interesting pictures. Enjoy your break, my dearest friend.


  23. Good Morning Dear Vera,
    I have been waiting to visit this post when the morning hours still brought silence. (Family visiting from California)It is wonderful to be with you this morning and experience the light in black and white.
    In our book shelves, I have only black and white photos of my childhood, my agricultural farm, and parents. It makes for a striking remembrance of the past.
    I am truly entranced by Buddha and the symbolic message he also holds.
    I have been so enjoying your IG photos and so happy to have you in another part of my world!

  24. Dear Vera, I really love your post today. It brought back so many memories, my Dad was a photographer and he took nothing but black and white photos like the picture of the owl that hangs in the sitting room. I have many pictures of old men that he took one weekend at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, old men where is favorite because they have so much character in the faces. I would love to send one to you if you like because I know how much you adore black and white. I think you would find them very interesting.
    I think about my year books and they are all black and white and so much fun to look back on. Thank you for your wonderful post. Have a wonderful evening. xx Jo

  25. Black and white photography has always been a favorite of mine. It's classic, intriguing and mysterious. There's an art to knowing what photos to showcase in black and white, and you clearly have a gift.

    The photo of the man by your (beautiful) car is very interesting. He has a decidedly French look to him. Perhaps it's the striped shirt ;).

  26. So interesting love the crosses

  27. Vera, so intriguing. I seem to have read this, but forgot to comment. I really like how you hang the family rosaries over the buddha. Enjoy your downtime. xoxo Su

  28. Your photos do evoke thought, Vera. I never thought about flowers being photographed in black and white...leaving the person to imagine the color for themselves.... The combination of buddha and rosaries crosses man made barriers built up through religions....provokes more thought. John is right....this IS deep!!!
    Happy Mother's Day to you, dear Vera. You were, are, and will be a mom, no matter what the situation.
    Love to you, dear one.

  29. Your photos do evoke thought, Vera. I never thought about flowers being photographed in black and white...leaving the person to imagine the color for themselves.... The combination of buddha and rosaries crosses man made barriers built up through religions....provokes more thought. John is right....this IS deep!!!
    Happy Mother's Day to you, dear Vera. You were, are, and will be a mom, no matter what the situation.
    Love to you, dear one.

  30. My goodness...don't know how I missed this delightful post. Been so busy here with gardens,potting, 4 girls graduating, party planning and etc...just LIFE. :)
    Take your break and will see ya when you get back...

  31. I love black and white photography it makes you look deeper into the subject matter, and a well deserved break is always key!!

  32. Love black and white photography too. Some of my favorite photos of my kids when they were babies were black & white shots.

  33. Black and white photography is my most favorite! There is so much more depth and emotion to see in a b/w photo than in color. I'm a huge fan of the old documentary photographers because their photos always spoke volumes! Love and hugs to you sweet friend!