An ode to black and white

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AN ODE TO BLACK AND WHITE

11/05/16
Article & photography by Julia Ahtijainen

It was that time in the morning when birds ruled the city, no single man was out. The sun was rising and the birds sang their songs in total solitude. It was 5am in the morning when I decided, after my 3-day-all-alone-Hitchcock-movie-session, to take up this black and white journey.

If not coffee and cigarettes then WHY BLACK AND WHITE?

> It’s basic. Basics are important.
> Black and white is simple.
> And I believe that everything great is simple.
> Colors contain too many meanings, differentiating culturally and their meaning depending on the environment where they appear.
> Black and white has a class, a certain kind of nostalgic character.

Within my Bachelor’s thesis I analyzed the sign of nostalgia, and I think that black and white imagery possesses always a certain amount of nostalgia. A nostalgia towards the future, a nostalgia of the past. Black and white is slow, it makes you stop and think, it makes you pay attention and link. Black and white gives time. Let’s think time for a second. What is time? The value of time; stop the time; time is money; time runs fast; time is about the present and the past. The present and the future; there’s a timetable; a tea o’clock; we all pass the test of time. Black and white is the moment of time.

Black and white takes time to fall in love with, while colorful photo is more outspoken. The colors are out there, saying too much, flirting and revealing too much, making it all somehow too obvious. Black and white for me is an attempt to say that one must be able to “read between the lines”. Black and white represents contradiction, contrasts, a clash of two different sides. Black and white makes you think “why?”

FIRST INFLUENCER was my boyfriend at the time. He was extremely hard-working, creative, and he had an excellent sense of criticism. But most of all he saw my potential and he saw who I might become. So le grand thanks goes here to him for pushing and forcing me to see everyday things in another angle and reinterpret them in my own style.

FIRST ROLE MODEL was Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn. In Russian, the main reason would sound ‘красота в квадратах’ (meaning the beauty in squares). I was fascinated by his subjects in squares, honest emotion, contrasts, contradictions, shadows, body language of a model. Everything!

Black and white is also a limitation. American actor Orson Welles said once that the enemy of art is the absence of limitations, and I think it’s true. One should be creative with what he or she has. It has been a journey for almost 8 years now. For me black and white shows the actual true color of the subject.

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Get acquainted with Julia by visiting her website The Frankly Speaking or follow her on Instagram.
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