Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Guest Black & Whites

When Matt & I went to Ireland for our honeymoon, we were both fairly confident in our picture taking abilities. Matt, however, was quite sure that his artistry and skill were much better than my own. He liked my pictures, but mostly thought his were "better".

Then we went to Denmark, and we got quite competitive photographically. I felt my skills had improved, and I was ready to take some awesome pictures. He really liked (dare I say, even loved) some of my Denmark photos, and he said to me that my own skills just might be surpassing his.

And now, after months of practice with a SLR camera plus a photo class, I think unequivocally, we can all agree that I am the better photographer in the family.

The end.

Wait, I had a point. Matt is actually quite the photographer. I think he's particularly good at seeing the shot before he takes it and having all of the patience in the world to make sure he gets that shot he sees in his head. He took some wonderful photos (with a point and shoot, nonetheless!) while in Africa a few weeks ago, and he thought it'd be fun for me to share some of his edited black and whites. It is, after all, the theme of the month. And I absolutely love these.

I forget exactly where this photo was taken, but I believe it was in Cape Town and might even be on Table Mountain. Matt, can you confirm?

I loved the texture of both the tree/bush in the background and on the water fountain thing. Matt particularly loved the shadow behind it.

This is in Cape Town from atop Table Mountain. I thought this was a fantastic shot of the whole of Cape Town (well, most of it, I assume). And I think the black and white brings out all of the details in the city. And for you soccer/World Cup fans, that's the Cape Town stadium in the upper right hand corner.

This was Matt's favorite. He was up late one night editing his photos, and he giddily told me about this one in the morning when I woke up. I think I was expecting more (of what exactly, I'm not sure) because of his excitement over the photo, so I didn't love it at first. But after an explanation of where this was and the purpose behind this photo, I now think it's an incredible image.

This was taken at Robben Island in the prison where Nelson Mandela, among others, were imprisoned during the apartheid. Matt said that it was sitting there in one of the prison cells (not Mandela's) lonely and decrepit, a survivor of more bleak times on the island. I love how the tattered state of the bench blends almost seamlessly into the peeling wall behind it, a testament to its lonely and forgotten state. I think in color, although devoid of most of it naturally, the cold, harshness of this photo did not come through. Matt made the right choice turning this photo black and white to evoke the lonely decay of this sad, little bench.

Thanks for letting me share, Matt!


  1. A few comments are in order.

    First, I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about my opinion of my photographic abilities. When we went to Ireland, it's true that I preferred my photos to Amanda's. I felt like I made a deliberate effort to take interesting pictures, while Amanda tended to want simply to take pictures of beautiful things. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and plenty of her pictures turned out well, but yes, on the whole I preferred my own. But I never thought that I was some awesome photographer, either on an absolute scale or compared to Amanda. That would have been pretty stupid, as well as obviously false. Because, well, I've never been an awesome photographer by any measure. But sometimes my photos turn out!

    Yes: the first photo is taken at Table Mountain, along one of its hiking trails.

    Finally, I object to the idea that you need to know the backstory to appreciate the last photo. At least, I don't think it should be. One of the great things about a great photo is that (except possibly for photojournalism, I suppose) it conveys some idea or emotion mostly devoid of context. This photo, for example, could just as easily depict a stool a son found while cleaning out his recently-deceased father's toolshed as it does a symbol of a prisoner's isolation. Either one is consistent with the lonely, time-worn sadness that (I say) the picture conveys without tying it to a historical or political statement.

    Oh yes. Thanks for sharing my photo(s) with the blogosphere. I'm happy they make the cut!

  2. Nama, you crack me up! Loved the intro.

    Very nice pictures, Matt. I love the birds-eye view of Cape Town.