Stop EVERYTHING for this very important topic. It’s related to photos, which is one thing you know we're big about. If you spend any time on Facebook, then perhaps you’ve run across black and white photos dotting your feed. And they're not just the "monochrome" filter from Instagram—these are the black and whites captioned with "Day 'X' of..."
These photo are most likely part of the Black & White, No-Word-or-People Photo Challenge that's been circulating, passing to one person after another.
Generally, I dodge this sort of thing when someone tags me, especially the chainmail variety, but I decided to join in without hesitation this time. As it turned out, I learned a few things which I’d like to share with you:
- Taking a photo a day in black and white isn’t a “challenge,” but remembering to take the photo can be. And I don’t like the word challenge, anyway. Perhaps “invitation” would be better. Who doesn’t like to be welcomed to do something?
- I enjoyed viewing the stream of black and white photos from others. Pictures in grayscale catch the eye, and entice the viewer to look inside the photo for composition, shadow and content.
- The big takeaway was that pictures without people invariably turned out to be moments revealing little stories within a person’s life. There was the stack of books for the student, a room covered with toys for a young mom, and dirty pans in the sink after a big meal. And in those moments I found beauty.
I did a bit of research and found that the Black & White Challenge has been traveling through FB since 2015. Other writers of articles expressed disdain for the phenomenon, complaining of pictures clogging the arteries of social media and encouraging non-photographers to attempt creativity. To those people, I say "meh."
I like the little moments. I think there is interesting life going on in them.
And there is the nugget to consider as you review your own photos and begin slating those worthy of keeping. Is there a day-to-day taste of life in an image that's story-worthy? They don’t all have to be about pivotal events, but can be moments that took place in daily life that matter and tell deeper meaning.
P.S.—If someone invites you to do the Black & White challenge, take a turn for fun!