“For you, everything has to be either black or white” was how a recent tangle with my volatile 15 year old ended. That got my attention. I was saved from having to wonder exactly what he meant when he yelled from another room, “You never see any grey”.
Just so that we are clear, he wasn’t literally challenging my ability to discern grey. He was referring to what he perceived to be my habit of distilling every argument down to a choice between two outcomes. Right or wrong. On or off. Black or white. While I wouldn’t freely admit to that tendency, it’s true that I am distressed by ambiguity, discombobulated by choice, and distracted by crowds. I’m happier when I can make a shortlist. I’m happiest when there’s an obvious choice.
Perhaps there’s a connection between this tendency and my preference for photos that tend towards deep contrast, strong blacks and white whites. The raw images that pop out of my scanner depress me with a sea of grey. Perhaps it’s because I’m not happy until the shadows are dark enough to offer a place to hide.
As to my teenager, at least he didn’t call me colourless.