Black and white is bright

Are black and white photos better and more expressive than color photos?

Black and white is bright.

This rhyme entered my mind while shoveling snow this morning.
Is it stupid or clever?
It is quite a paradox, at least.

Banality in beauty or beauty in banality?
Which one do you prefer?

In general, black and white are rather plain colors and terms, whereas bright can mean many things:
light, shiny, radiant, brilliant, brisk, vivid, cheerful, alert, intelligent. On the color spectrum bright is associated with red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, magenta.

Colors themselves can be beautiful and banal at the same time. This doesn’t only refer to black and white, it refers to every color. It all depends where the colors are and how and in what kind of situation they have an effect on us.

Color is a distraction! It takes our attention from the crucial things away.
Black and white is a simplification! It doesn’t take the complexity of life into consideration.
These are the two arguments.

My morning was quiet, still dim. Some birds were picking the grain we had left for them. The white tops of the fir trees surrounding our garden were gently moving in the wind. The grey sky didn’t make a big difference to the white snow all around me.
I enjoyed being in my own thoughts, undisturbed by anything.

Suddenly everything lit up. A narrow stripe of the rising sun appeared in the eastern sky bathing a massive part of it in strong colors of yellow, orange, red. The initial grey of the sky had turned into blue.
I regretted having left my camera inside, but felt reluctant to get it anyway.
You are not the only one taking a photo of this beautiful morning.
Many others will do the same, and much better than you. What difference does it make in the end who the pictures takes and for whom?

Keep on enjoying the things you do and see: the morning, the sky, the sun, the trees, the birds…
Be bright! Be happy! Throw your black winter clothes away! Spring is in the air.
It is true. Yes, but I still want to enjoy the winter for some time, at least as long as I can and want it myself.

My eyes fell on the intricate patterns on the old window panes of our greenhouse, conjured by the frost. Clear daylight gave them a beauty now I hadn’t noticed before.
I started getting restless again.
You can’t be lazy or inside on a day like this! You must go out, walk, ski!

Distracted by color.
Delighted by the sun.

Deactivated by the white.
Quietened by the snow.

However, a black and white or a color photo? I still can't say which one I like more.
Like it is true with so many other things.
It depends.


Another year has passed.
2018 is just a number left behind in a numerous crowd out of which it might later rise again, like other years in connection with events, occasionally entering our minds have done before.
I moved from Germany to Finland in 1989. That was 30 years ago. Incredible! If someone came to me and said it happened 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be surprised.
In 1993 I moved from Finland back to Germany. This was 25 years back from now.
I still see myself walking through my new little hometown for the first time. This July morning is not only clear in front of my eyes still now. When I start becoming aware of it again, I can feel it with my whole body.
And then 2004, the year in which my life in Finland started for a second time.
Now I have been living here for more than 15 years...

Time flies. The passing of 30, 25 or even 15 years feels terrifying when you, for whatever the reason might be, suddenly start thinking about it.
Where was I then?  What did I do, feel and think?
Where am I now? What do I do, feel, think?

I know what I am doing right now, at least. But, the things I feel and think at this particular moment are not so easy to describe.

Now is so short! Does it even exist?
Time and tense are not the same things.
Past, present and future overlap. They penetrate each other and lose their sheer content when seen within the process of time itself.
No one can say when this endlessly streaming massive beam came into existence.
It didn’t happen when we started to count time and created the term itself. It had happened long before that.
It didn’t start when we “settled” on this planet and developed to what we are now. It had started long, long before that.
It didn’t start when our planet and the whole universe emerged in the infinity of space, which is as infinite as time itself.
When nothing had existed yet, there was still something there, lingering in this nothing or in itself. It will linger on forever. Call it time, space, something, nothing, it …
The beam will stream and glow forever.
Now it is only we who can/can’t say what forever really means.
It is us who define words, phenomena, and things much stronger than we are ourselves.
It is also in our hands to decide if we see time and its passing by as something frightening or something great.
We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. We know who our friends are.
Time should be one of them!


We have the tendency to strive for clear definitions, characterizations,
This doesn’t only help us to (seemingly) find our place in this complex world,
it also gives us the idea (illusion) to have clarity about ourselves and others. 
Like that we dig our way through this life. We basically know what we (don’t) 
want, think, are(n’t) supposed to do. I don’t want to say that we shouldn’t have 
any values, concepts or aims. No, these things have helped us a lot in our history 
and are, without doubt, the tools for our way in any kind of future.

Still, it is often not easy to be honest or unbiased when it comes to describe 
the complexity of things we feel, think, do, want 

Black - white, love - hate, little big (man), sweet-and-sour,bittersweet.
Bitter or sweet? What is really better?
Sweet feels soft, may be too soft.
Bitter feels severe, definitely too severe.

If you consider the effect the word might have as a whole, some might think
it is more positive, whereas others connect it with  rather negative connotations.
Am I allowed to like chocolate even though I am a man? At least a little…
Sometimes I am craving for a bitter taste in my mouth if I don’t want to throw up 
all this sweet (fake) stuff which has accumulated there for years.
This kind of being sweet doesn’t caress my body and soul, it hits them!

I must say yes to ambivalence, not to clarity!
I have laughed a lot, but at the same time forgotten other people’s suffering.
I have cried because I suffered, but simultaneously felt that my tears brought relief.
I often want to have clear things around me: Sun, purity, beauty...
I often try to avoid shadow, dirt, ugliness...
However, without the existence of the black color of the soul, I wouldn’t know
anything about the innocence of snow.
Without the paleness of your face I wouldn't be able to see the depths behind your black eyes.
Black and white. Both are the colors of death.
Cold, white snow covers, protects and warms black soil.
Black soil willingly opens its lap for its new white dress, at least for some time.

There is no question about it. We are surrounded by extremes. 
These ways of existence might be necessary sometimes, but more often our lives
are an intriguing mixture of all kinds of things.

Let’s be white black people crying in the shadow.
Let’s be black snowmen laughing in the sun.
Reach out your hands.
Exchange colors, expressions, emotions and see what happens.
Ambivalent terms are more than just beautiful words.


The banner above I found in a Jamaican bar at a beach in Kingston about 10 years ago.

Although I instinctively agreed with its message already then and still think it is generally true and important, I know that it only contains one aspect of life and us as being part of the human species.

When, a few days ago, I heard in the news that people have started to rebuild the Syrian city Aleppo again after more than 50 percent of it had been destroyed, the statement came to my mind for another time.

Neither did I experience the second world war by myself - I was born more than a decade after its end - nor have I ever lived in a country which was directly hit by war. Still, I have always been strongly affected by the sight of destroyed cities in the media.

First as a child: Dresden, Coventry, Leningrad.
Later: Grozny, Sarajevo, Baghdad.
And now Aleppo.
First totally destroyed. Then rebuilt again.
Destroyed by people. Rebuilt by people.

What a strange species we are!
Once we walk in beautiful parks, hang out on beaches, shop in fancy malls, stroll over old market places, visit theaters, cinemas, concerts, museums,... live.
Then we climb into fighter jets, throw bombs on cities,... kill.

Of course you can ask: Who is we? Are we really all the same? Are you even different from the rest of us or them?
No one is! Not even you! Not even I!
We are all people.

People kill, eat, drink, love, hate… Everything at its own time. Everything at the same time.
People seek other people’s company or are in each other’s way.
People accept things. People oppose things.
People are cowards. People are brave.
People make the distinctions among all these things.
People explain. People justify.
People condemn. People praise… Everything at its own time. Everything at the same time.

Would it help our planet and us as a species if we continuously thought about what strange creatures we are?
Or at least from time to time?
Or at least once?

Maybe it would.

Living and walking around

We walk streets, forests and fields being under the influence of our thoughts and the things around us. Our thoughts are as versatile as...