Let’s return once more to my fifth stop on the way north, the Portland Arch Nature Preserve.
The quality of darkness and light changes with contrast and sharpness. When many shades of gray are present, we perceive them as a guide for depth, assuming that darker colors prefer the background.
In images with strong contrast, however, the black becomes the substance, and the white the ether, the insubstantial. For some reason, our understanding of an image flips from the rational to the symbolic. We give up on perceiving reality, but instead accept that a more mystical interpretation of what we see is possible.
This relapse into dualistic-mythological thinking is reinforced when the contours become blurry. We prefer to reject doubt, and are therefore happy to accept our first impression as truth.
It is difficult to navigate a reality that is perceived like this, as the substance, the dark, to which we could hold on to as real, is at the same time more ominous and frightening, while the light that attracts us will not hold us.