Seeing in black and white

Keith Dotson

KEITH DOTSON THINKS COLOR GETS IN THE WAY. He travels the world shooting in straightforward black and white, in soft light, often on overcast or stormy days that keep other photographers at home. It results in arresting images, often not exactly like anything you’ve seen. So how do you shoot New Mexico and not make it look like every postcard you’ve ever seen?

Man, New Mexico. The first time I went there, it was one of those weird things where I felt like I was totally at home. Even though I’d never been there before. There was some kind of psychological or spiritual connection that I can’t really explain but that you can see in shots. I belonged there.

Why did Georgia O’Keeffe go there? Why do so many artists go there?

There’s something about it that draws creativity. From the first time, I was home.

The landscape has a spirit that’s shaped by weather, geography, topography, history, and human activity. Native Americans recognized that, often leaving petroglyphs to tell the stories of their ancestors, to mark their sacred places. When I’m in these places, I sense them all around me. It’s palpable, you can feel it.



Photo Becky Thomason