Black and White from a Color Negative
by Shawna Black
My little boy, Riley, has always been an excellent subject to photograph. He’s got beautiful skin, just slightly Asian in tone (his father is 50% Japanese) and hair that’s thick, straight as a board and almost black - but if you look real close under the light of the sun, strands of the brightest red just like his brother’s shine through.
Riley’s an introvert, a deep thinker and a budding musician. He started piano lessons about six months ago and practices without being told. He loves it. His eyes light up when he talks about piano. He’s learning to read music. As I type this I hear Bach’s Minuet coming from the other room. This is a song that his older brother, who’s about a year ahead in lessons, was learning over the summer. Riley heard Jake practicing, picked up Jake’s lesson book, asked him where to put his hands on the keyboard and taught himself the song.
The boys’ piano teacher asked me to go for a walk one evening (she lives next door) only to tell me how impressed she was with Riley’s ability. He will compare a new song he’s learning with one he learned months ago. He’ll take a song and play it at different parts of the keyboard. He experiments. He thinks.
(Can I interrupt this article to ask if anyone is watching the Billboard Awards? Is it just me or does most of this shit suck? WTF? I can’t believe people listen to some of this crap. Seriously. Am I right or am I just getting old? Can Gwen Stefani get any more annoying? Wait. Didn’t Fergi just do this stupid song? (Did I spell those names wrong? Wait, I don’t care.) The Mountain Dew commercial was the best part of the night! My husband just asked, “Have you heard a guitar tonight??”)
And now back your regularly scheduled program…
This picture of Riley I took as a series of him and his brother (remember, I do my own portraits). I shot these pictures in color but wanted to see how the color negative would translate into black and white. Not as good as with a true black and white negative, but I love Riley’s posing in this picture. He posed himself, for the most part, and the picture looks better with the color stripped out.
This is Riley, my little thinker, who I am shielding from the Billboard Music Awards tonight. Most parents protect their kids from bad language, sex and murder on TV. My kids? I try to shelter them from bad music.
Shawna knows how to wind you up. But she won't annoy you by singing about it.