Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Black and White

You'll never see one of those photos on Instagram posted by me. And I'll never have another one printed.

We have a large canvas print from our wedding in black and white that I love, but that was before. Before is okay, but this is after. Like two sides of a coin and definitely different people within us.

Before all things I knew were good all of a sudden turned upside-down, black and white photos were modern chic. They had edge to them and provided a sense of mystery to photos that left you wondering.

What color is that shirt?
Is that tulip white or yellow?
What color eyes do they have?

Your brain is left to the intriguing mystery and fantasy that the colors could be anything you want.

Andrew's photos were in black and white. For obvious reasons. And as much as I cherish/adore/love/hoard them, it saddens me that they are black and white. They're gorgeous. Taken by a professional photographer and touched up in probably so many places that it makes you wonder what the real baby looked like. Well, except us. We know exactly what that gorgeous baby looked like.

They do look like him, except the color. Of course the color. It's as though the obvious choice to print in black and white helps conceal imperfect skin coloring... but more vividly adds the mystery of the unknown about a baby sadly unknown. And it's hard to forget the notion that things are quite black and white when it comes to the reality of loss. That things are not colorful or cheery. They're black, white, gray, permanent. Their lack of color somehow symbolizes the permanence of losing him.

In June, he would be blowing out the candles on his half-birthday cake. A boy standing tall at the age of 2.5 years. What a joy that would be to see the boy he should become. At well over 2 years after losing him, it still brings me to my knees. Maybe not so often, but still painfully so.


Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

2.5. Ugh it sounds so lovely. I can tell you that we have both black and white and the original color. In the hospital while we were still holding Addi in our arms, Brian downloaded some of our pictures to the laptop. We went through them with her right there with us. Even at that moment we knew the pictures would never portray her as she was. The colors the camera picked up were not the colors we were seeing right in front of our faces. Just another injustice of it all. Andrew's pictures are incredibly gorgeous, but I know it will never be okay that you don't get to take more pictures of him as he grows along side his brother. Completely and ridiculously unfair.

Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

Life is filled with so many grey moments, but I agree that the loss of our babies is probably one of the most defined black and white moments I have ever experienced. No confusing or conflicting emotions...just pure and agonizing pain and grief.

I didn't know about NILMDTS until a friend in the photography world was brave enough to email me about it...of course by that time it was too late and I was already home and Logan was on his way to the funeral home. The hospital took photos the next morning. THey are in color and a few of his hand and feet are in black in white. I will not lie...the color photos are heart breaking because they look nothing like my son after he was born, and they do not appeared to be touched up that much. So much had changed within 12+ hours. Every once in awhile I get brave and take those photos out and it makes me so angry...Why didn't I take any photos when I was holding him and why didn't someone in that damn hospital suggest it or at least offer it. Despite the tears, as time goes by I would do anything to go back to that moment. Memories will always be there, but I desperately want to see him exactly as I saw him the minute he was born.

I so wish I would be able to see your boys together. Two handsome little Wilson's running his mommy ragged. xoxo

RyAnne Carr said... [Reply to comment]

I cringe now when I see baby announcements in black and white. My mind has to reassure me that the baby is alive because I automatically assume black and white mean the baby is dead. I love our NILMDTS photos, but they do stand out around our house now, especially next to Abigail's colored photos. For her newborn session the photographer showed us some proofs in black and white. I think we both jumped out of our seat and said "no!" we want all of hers in color, always. I know Andrew would have taken great colored 2.5 year old pictures. Wishing you and me and all of us didn't have to know the difference between black and white and colored.

Jessica said... [Reply to comment]

Nearly two and a half surreal. The photos of my boys, while cherished beyond words, never matched what they really looked like when I held them. Still today grief is a mighty force and I suspect always will.

Natasha said... [Reply to comment]

Maybe not so often, but still painfully so......yes this.

I was just thinking last night about what Aiden should be doing right now and it's heartbreaking.

We have a lot of black and white pictures of Aiden. In fact both of the framed pictures in my bedroom are black and white. We do have a few in color and I love them as well. Couldn't imagine not having them. But you're right black and white pictures definitely have a new meaning now.

Thinking of you my friend and both of your sweet boys <3

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

A few times when I see a picture of a living baby in black and white I have to do a double take because sometimes the baby looks dead to me. I hate that I know what a dead baby looks like. I hate that you do. I hate that we all do.


LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I remember commenting to my mother, upon seeing someone's birth announcement, the black and white shots always look like dead babies to me. It wasn't until I said it out loud that I realized what I had said was shocking- because I guess unless you've seen them you don't really know, ya know?

Andrew was incredibly handsome. He has two hottie parents and his brother is well on his way to being a handsome little man all his own...

I wish we could all be seeing there seeing a 2.5 year old boy jumping up and down and misbehaving. So much.

Mama Bear said... [Reply to comment]

Yup, I love the black and white wedding photo we have framed and Bear's pictures. But especially for Bode's announcement, I needed it in color with his eyes open and looking very much alive! xoxo

Emily said... [Reply to comment]

I love colour photos. I specifically chose a wedding photographer who liked to give people back colour photos because I spent a boat load of time agonizing over the exact shade of everything so I wanted that to be portrayed.

All of the NILMDTS photos we have are in black and white too and yes, this is because Aidan was basically one big bruise at this point. His skin colour was obviously that of a dead baby. We have our own photos that are in colour and aren't touched up. I don't look at them often, but I'm glad we have them.

And yes, I think I would only like B&W baby photos now if they are obviously alive (eyes open or doing some other alive movement), because just laying there, looks WAY too much like laying dead. Kaia's baby announcement was in colour and taken after she got out of the hospital so there are no tube or wires and I made sure it was one with her eyes open for that exact reason.

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Any pic I see of Ben and I pre accident it makes me grieve what we had and who we were! It's so hard to look at past photos...of living and those who have passed away...color or not!
So happy you do have those sweet pics of Andrew and your wedding! Sweet memories although some full of heartache...that's how I see ours!

JoyAndSorrow said... [Reply to comment]

I agree when I see any baby sleeping in black and white it just reminds me of my son's photos.

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

Hard to put into words, and your words said your feelings so transparently. Thank you for giving me a glimpse.

When I was an Arts major (French minor), we drew almost exclusively in b/w. For me, it draws my eye to the beautiful form and features of a person - the unique wrinkles, hair, eyelashes, and proportions of two loving parents in one child. Nothing can diminish that beauty in Andrew.