The Beauty of Gray

I’m a fan of black-and-white photography, particularly infrared conversions. There’s something so simple yet visually intricate about the tones. Recently jamming out to some Live while I was working away behind the scenes here at Val in Real Life HQ, I revisited one of my favorite songs of theirs, The Beauty Of Gray.

And it got me thinking about the corollary between black-and-white photographs and life. Because monotone photography is anything but a simple matter of black-and-white, just like life.

The beauty lies in all of the tones in between the extremes. It gives our lives depth. In photography it’s a visual feast, in life it is an emotional one. Those mid-tones tell the full story, one that isn’t contained within the stark contrasts of the extremes. Thinking in black and white both sanitizes life and polarizes it. If we insist on picking one or the other, we’ll always be at odds with each other; there will never be a bridge between them. We are less for it, just as an image would be less for lack of something in between. Without the mid-tones, we can’t see the full picture of life and its intricacies.

This is one of the reasons I value my travels so greatly. Experiencing so many different people, communities, and lifestyles has given me a broader world-view that I cherish. Travel encourages a person to open their eyes and let light flood the myopia that sets in when your experience is limited to your personal microcosm. When you step away, you see how dynamic humanity actually is. In that mental place, you understand that black-and-white pre-formed judgements have no place in a world filled with infinite human possibilities and conditions.

So I leave you with this…


Cheers, friends.


  1. Fantastic as always. Love the photo with the quote and your personal thoughts on this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Candy. And one of these days I need to get you shooting in IR. Fits your personality quite well. 😉

  2. Great post, great thoughts, great image!!

    1. Thanks, Steve! Glad to see you’ve resurfaced from Death Valley.

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