Lately, I’ve been taking the color out of my photos. With apps on my phone, I can re-create, if imperfectly, some of the analog tones I remember from Mr. Pink’s high school photography classes. The aesthetics of Ilford paper and Fuji film have improbable new leases on life.
There are at least two things I like about removing color. For one, black and white photos jog my memory more than color photos. I look at the gradient of that sky on the Fourth of July in Jaffrey and I remember how blue, how bright, how warm. (How annoyed, in Charlotte’s case.) It sparks my imagination, it invites dialogue.
The second thing: black and white photos create a level playing field with the past. Black and white photos from last week invite recollection the same way a photo in a dusty old album might.
It’s this sense that I love most. I can look at a black and white photo from last Sunday and feel thrown into the future. I see ourselves as if I was looking back. I don’t think Oh, that was us the other day. I think, there we were, look at us and my mind goes from there. Those mornings after he didn’t sleep… how tired you were… we look so young… in the thick of it, no idea what was next.