"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta, in Black-and-White (2 of 2)

From Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age by Robert Hirsch:

“The process of making pictures involves keeping an open mind to single and serial image constructions, narrative and non-narrative formats, in-camera juxtapositions, and post-camera manipulations. How does changing the sense of scale, the size you expect something to be, affect viewer reaction? Does the unusual scale evoke humor, mystery, or horror? How does this make you rethink the subject? Consciously ask yourself questions like these: How does image size affect viewer response? How would changing to black-and-white or color affect the image’s emotional outcome? Examine how one photograph may modify the meaning of the image next to it. Consider what happens if text is added to an image. How can meaning shift with a title as opposed to leaving a photograph untitled? What is the most effective form of presentation, and what is the appropriate venue?”

“When making color images, the intensity and the relationship of one color to another within the scene plays a vital role in creating contrast. If you decide to make black-and-white images, then contrast is created by the difference between the darkest and lightest areas of the composition.”


This is the second of two posts (the first is Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta, in Black-and-White (1 of 2)) showing black-and-white conversions of the color photos I originally posted in Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta (1 of 2) and Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta (2 of 2).

Thanks for taking a look!

Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta, in Black-and-White (1 of 2)

From “The Garden in Black & White” in Creative Garden Photography by Harold Davis:

“It’s clear that black and white is very important to certain kinds of garden photography. Why?

“For one thing, a black and white photograph is ‘art.’ In the context of gardens, black and white has a long history of rendering the shapes, forms, and composition of the garden….

“Up until fairly recently, photography was only black and white. Color was not an option. Nineteenth-century photographers, such as Eugène Atget (1857–1927) who worked near Paris, used the prowess of their monochromatic cameras to capture gardens around the world with a particular emphasis on the patterns and structure of formal French gardens. To some extent, this embrace of the static in garden photography was driven by technology: not only was photography monochromatic, shutters were also slow, so capturing anything in motion was non-trivial.

“As time went by, when color film was introduced, the great era of Kodachrome was on. Fast forward a few more decades, and the wet-film darkroom transitioned to digital. Not only is the default capture mode on most digital cameras or smartphones in color, to choose to render a garden image captured in color in black and white is an affirmative choice. In today’s world, to present an image in black and white is making a statement. The statements may well be: ‘Look at me, I am a work of art!’ ‘I am special.’ ‘I am the form and composition reduced to its essentials.’ Of course, it also helps that black and white photography is simply beautiful.”


For most of my photo projects — where I clump a couple dozen similar photos into a Lightroom collection and work on them together — I often convert a few to black and white to see if I like the monochrome versions enough to produce a separate set. Usually, I don’t find them compelling; but for the mostly-magenta amaryllis I featured in the previous two posts (see Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta (1 of 2) and Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta (2 of 2)) the combination of colors in the pink-to-purple range (along with the slightly shiny glow produce by lots of rain the night before I took the photos) seemed to work out well in black and white. As I often do, I added a bit of silver tone (actually, a wee bit of light blue) to each of the images, which seemed to further emphasize the soft textures of individual flower petals.

Thanks for taking a look!

Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta (2 of 2)

From “Amaryllis” in Bulbs and Tuberous-Rooted Plants: Their History, Description, Methods of Propagation and Complete Directions for their Successful Culture in the Garden, Dwelling and Greenhouse (1893) by C. L. Allen:

“This interesting genus has had a hard struggle to establish its identity. At one period it had numerous species, and many sub-genera, all very beautiful. One by one these have been removed, becoming separate genera themselves, until there is scarcely enough left to hold the name. Some eight distinct kinds still hold, in trade, the old generic name….

“[The] Amaryllis is but little known in this country, while its synonyms are extensively grown and highly appreciated. Amaryllis is now simply a trade name for several genera, a popular name applied in the same manner as that of Calla Lily to Richardia, or Japonica to the Camellia. The genus formerly included Hippeastrum, Brunsvigia, Crinum, Nerine, Sprekelia, Sternbergia, Vallota and Zephyranthes…..

“The genus Amaryllis consists of but one species.”


This is the second of two posts featuring Swamp Lilies (or Swamplilies or Swamp-lilies) or Amaryllis or Crinum or just pretty flowers, that I took at Oakland Cemetery’s gardens a few weeks ago. The first post is (including a bit about the plants’ names) is Amaryllis, Mostly Magenta (1 of 2).

Thanks for taking a peek!

%d bloggers like this: