•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Unplugged Revisited

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Three friends, all photographers whose work and judgement I deeply respect, wrote to question my preserving the color in the window area of this photo. I've been reminded that my wife was probably the first to raise the issue. Keeping color there had seemed like the right way to put a bit of spotlight on the flag or at least make sure it would be clear to those who looked. Two of my friends thought that the flag was not what the image was about. True, it's a detail that adds mystery and ambiguity, but what is the subject? The stove? The secret behind the wall? A dialogue of interior and exterior?. Experts' advice, even Jane's, is of limited value to me until I understand and feel the truth of it myself, but how could I refuse a little help from such friends?.

You never know what it looks like from another part of the hill until you stand there. To my surprise and delight, when I made the whole image b&w the stars of the flag became much clearer. More importantly, I realized how cluttered that section of the image had been. Because I took pleasure in the detail of the window lock and the round, cotton shade pull (Which of us doesn't have the feel in our forearm and our finger tips of pulling on that?) I had overlooked the clutter in the area of the image on which I was focusing such attention. The switch to b&w reduces both clutter and attraction, but the effect of the shot still seems to me to rest on the balance between inside and outside. For me it is important that the brightness of the outside be pressing against the dim of the interior. One of my critics cautions, "A whisper, not a shout." In fact, shouting about such a detail no feels gimmicky.