Just as our discernment of images comes from perceiving a balance of light and shadow, our comprehension is enriched by the tonal quality or contrast in what we see.
Consider for a moment old black & white movies from the 1940s, film noir. The scenery and costumes worn by the actors, even the actors themselves were full of color. But the camera and film used could only record black, white and varying shades of gray. Even so, the films are visually compelling. The stark differences between the tones, the contrast, creates drama and draws our focus.
Our ‘Safer at Home’ and ‘quarantine’ orders are in sharp contrast to our everyday lives of just a few weeks ago. Our focus has shifted dramatically. Our attention has been quite suddenly re-directed from busy, full, engaged to slow, empty and isolated.
Contrast, though, isn’t just something that happens. We can use contrast to refine not just images but also our thoughts and actions. Just like the talented film noir directors of the last century, we can use it to design our lives.
Whenever we build a ‘Pro and Con’ list, we are creating contrast. When we stop to listen to someone with an opposing view, we are allowing contrast to inform and perhaps redefine our position. Contrast enhances our skill of discernment.
Today look for contrast. When you find it, make a picture in color or black and white and share it. Don’t forget the hashtag #snapwithme2020.