13 May

The Story Of A Photograph That Grows: Two Pastures

by Jon Katz

I struck a deep nerve with my photo “Two Pastures,” the other day. Thanks for all those good words This photograph turned out to have an interesting back story

I spotted the pasture while whizzing past it in my car.

I returned to get a closer look and took this photo:

I liked it and so did a lot of other people, but I had this nagging feeling there was more to the image than I had captured, especially the really that the trees marked the boundary of two different pastures, side by side.

I went back yesterday to try to capture that (see the photo at the top of the page also) image more fully:

This was better, but I wanted the demaracation between the two pastures to be clear. I also wanted to try the Leica at the image.


The Leica always has its own way of seeing things, the thing the Leica most wanted to see in black and what was the tree, not the color or the two pastures.

The black and white offered a wholly different perspective on the pasture, with its clear lines and sharp colors. It suggested the tree was the soul of the photo, not the pastures.

It’s an interesting idea. I like all of these pictures, the experience taught me a lot about the mix of things that can make a good photo – a vigilant eye, a good camera, some technical skills and a sense of composition.

I’ve driven by that pasture for years and never once thought to take a photo of it until this winter, in a snowstorm, and now, as Spring emerges and colors the landscape.

No one photo is better than any other, I think, they each tell the story of the pasture in a different way. Creativity is organic, it changes and evolves.


  1. Look at a bunch of black and white Fotos by famous fotographers.

    Then start again. Wo more contrast and less clutter it’s too bland.

    1. No thanks Bob, I like my photos the way they are, why don’t YOU go back and look at a bunch of black and whites (which I’ve done a hundred times) since you like them so much? You may have missed that the good ones each developed their own style, one they chose, not one you might have chosen.

      If you have read any of their biographies – especially Adams, McCurry, Rowell, Forst, Leibowitz – you will find that each of them developed their own specialties, often amidst much criticism from presumptuous windbags (even before the Internet made it so easy to send unthinking messages) squawking about their techniques and style. (For that matter, read about the painter Georgie O’Keefe, whose studio I got to visit a couple of years ago, who was criticized by peckerheads and know-it alls for years for following her own instincts before she became famous. Check them out. The world is never at a loss for people telling other pepole what to do. The ones we remember didn’t listen.

      Do us all a favor and don’t send anyone any more messages – it was more like a belch – like this without being asked to strangers you know nothing about. It doesn’t speak well of you and it doesn’t do me the least bit of good. I have great teachers and they support my work, and I welcome their criticism, which is thoughtful and useful. Thanks.

  2. Personally I prefer color photos. . . not much into black and white. However, today all
    your pasture photos touched me.
    I saw TWO souls:
    the standing Black & White tree; And
    the bright Sun shining above in color.
    Lovely. Wonderful!

    1. Thanks Joy, I find I like them both, one for one thing, the other for another…sometimes the black and white really captures something..can’ts say what for sure..but I love color and light..

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