I really dislike the color white. It’s a nuisance. It’s stark. It’s bland. It’s a stain waiting to happen. White is a potential greasy hand print, a likely place to see dust from across the room, it’s the color of freshly fallen snow (snow being my least favorite four letter word). My grievances against it are bountiful (don’t even get me started on the topic of my son recently purchasing a white pair of jeans!). It can be a source of frustration for me as a photographer, too, in that it often bounces too much light where I least want it. It can wash out other colors and make for harsh imagery.
Yes, I understand that white can be a blank canvas full of endless potential, but it also possesses the optimal aptitude for blemishes, for dirt, for ruin. Some people would argue white is a symbol of purity, of cleanliness, of light, and that my gripes against it are invalid. White might represent those things, but maybe it’s time to stop and question, is the starkness of it really for the best?
Sometimes we need the dark to create contrast.
Sometimes it takes darkness to help us see the beauty that still exists.
Sometimes it’s the darkness that brings about the bold.
Sometimes it’s the darkness that helps showcase strength.
Sometimes it’s in darkness where a moment to shine is found.
A few days ago I tried to take a photo of a bouquet a dozen times, but nothing came together as I envisioned it. I then tried fewer flowers, a single flower, I changed up the lighting, but even the lone flower appeared drab. With a light backdrop, everything well-lit, it should have come together as a beautifully composed photo, but it didn’t. And that’s when I realized, I didn’t need different lighting. I needed something that would showcase the fiery petals of the sunflower. I needed something to allow its bold elegance to shine.
I needed darkness.
This revelation in my photography led me to contemplate how, not only do we all have to experience darkness at times, but we all actually need it.
Instead of fearing times of darkness, uncertainties, shadows, we should stand tall despite them, and choose to rise up against them. The darkness doesn’t overtake our strength, it helps us to grow beyond it. The darkness doesn’t dull beauty, but gives it an opportunity for beauty to exist where there’s been a deficit of it. When the weight of darkness feels all-encompassing, we need to embrace the moment and know that, overwhelming as it may feel, this is where we find who we truly are. Just as muscle builds strength when met with resistance, as we push back against the dark, we increase in our own strengths. Darkness brings forth our resilience, and for that we need to be ready to welcome it.
It’s good to seek light my friends, but don’t be afraid of the dark.