Chapter 43. Retractions: When It’s not all black or white

This is a retraction, so it will be short. There is no need to prolong the humiliation of an admission of error.

In an earlier post, I suggested that when taking pictures in color, there was a pointless interest in the merely pretty, or that which merely pleases the senses.

Well, on second thoughts, and after some reaction from anonymous reviewers who read that bit for a paper which did eventually get published in Southern Semiotic Review, i must say that there are a few things wrong with that.

For a start, not all that looks colorfully good is pointless. There is a point, and that point is the enjoyment of an aesthetic experience, which is a basic good.

But there is a sense still that, I would say, it is profitable to do black and white photography. Why? Well because the desire to capture the visually colorful is so compelling, that one’s photography is totalized by that consideration, and nothing else calls out to the photographer. Whereas, deprived of color, one begins to attend to other ways an image is worth making.

There is more to be said about black and white, and how in my experience, it also facilitates the obsession with the personal, such as your family members (and indeed even when shooting in colour film i found my images focused mostly on my lovely wife and son) and allows those things that are not of your own private sphere to interest you as well. Put in another way, it allows for the perception of common goods. But this belongs to another post.

This is a retraction, so let’s keep it short, and end here.