Black and White photographs feel timeless, don’t they? Looking at a black and white image of a scene from the olden days seems right to me. When we visited Pioneertown near Joshua Tree National Park, I found some old style buildings like this Feed Store. As I stood on the dirt road, I admired the low evening sun shining from the right on this big Joshua Tree and the wood barn.
As I processed this image, I emulated the look of an infared light photograph by darkening the sky. The foliage was naturally bright from the sunlight. A really good black and white image includes a simple and balanced composition, bold shapes and interesting textures. This image checked all the boxes for me.
If you arrive in Pioneertown in the late afternoon as we did, you can enjoy dinner and the unique ambiance of the iconic restaurant Pappy and Harriet’s, but you will need a reservation.
I’m attracted to scenes of fishermen, as well as sunsets, because they are timeless. Fishermen, like farmers, go back to Biblical times — those simple days when one fished to feed the family or to make a living. This scene invites me to imagine a time before cars and highways, let alone today’s industries and the World Wide Web.
A sunset? That’s a scene that has repeated itself since the planets were formed, even before humans walked the Earth.
Perhaps the persistence of the fisherman and the sunset through the ages makes me feel peace when I observe and photograph this quiet scene, in Naples, Florida.
Today I was inspired by a quote from National Geographic photographer Paolo Pellegrin. Reflecting on a photo he shot of two girls swimming in the Dead Sea, he said what he likes about this image is, “the girls could have been swimming there 2,000 years ago. I am always interested in a picture that speaks of a particular moment but also transcends it.”
I realized that timelessness is what attracts me to many scenes that I shoot. When I travel, I am attracted to markets, fishermen and farmers at work, and this is especially true in less developed regions that don’t resemble my home in the United States. Here are a few such images that I shot in China in 2005. While China is changing at a rapid place, there are scenes that portray a way of life that may not have changed for generations.