Monthly Photography Challenge: Le Noir


The month of march is a good one. It’s the time where spring begins to show its true colors and flowers begin to feign interest in blossoming. The bright sunshine and vivid colors of spring are the best part of spring season photography. The reds pop, the yellows shine and we can’t help but color-correct some cyans and magentas into the shadows. The bottom-line is spring is the best season for taking colorful pictures. That’s why I have decided to take away all the color from spring this month and express it in good old-fashioned black and white.

Before I continue geeking out on how excited I am about this new challenge, I feel obliged to write about what I’ve been up to this past few days. Over the last week, Russia and Ukraine (the country I live in) have been edging towards what could be a 21st century war, and the money I was supposed to preserve incase war actually breaks out and I have to buy a flight ticket outta here is what I’ve invested in a 50mm f 1.8 Nikon prime lens, some food stuff and Killzone: Mercenary for PS Vita (which is the best first person shooter on the handheld by far). I just couldn’t resist. The Ukrainian currency is currently so low, I felt I would be harming myself if I didn’t take advantage. Anyways, just incase war breaks out and I don’t have enough money and legs to run, I’ve decided to download an android app that teaches civilians how to shoot guns. I’m also practicing my protesting voice. Hint: It’s gonna be louder than Leonardo DiCaprio’s screams in Wolf of Wall Street. I’m also learning how to say “Don’t shoot me, I’m on your side” in both Ukrainian and Russian languages. That should get me prepared for anything.


Anyways, back to photography. Last month was a great experience. I bent the leaves of my physiology textbook, created shadows and exploited my portfolio for several photos which had anything to do with love. There were a lot of pictures I still didn’t get to upload as I had forgotten that the month of february had only 28 days, not 31. This month however, I intend uploading at least 15 pictures in black and white, then maybe an article about my experience shooting and editing a particular picture.

Remember you could always be a part of the fun by taking bright, colorful spring photos, converting them to black and white and sending them to my page on Facebook “Victor Ohwo Photography”, or if you’re on Instagram, upload the photo and insert the hashtag #MPCle_noir if you want me to see them. (Both old and new photos included). Or you could send me the link to the picture as a comment on any of my blog posts if you’ve already posted it somewhere. You could partake, you could not partake, you could partake. It’s stupid. I’m stupid.

Okay, that should be it for now. Thanks for reading and an even bigger thanks for partaking (if you do). You’ll be hearing from me, I hope to hear from you too.

In oddly related news, I feel like watching Casablanca. I really want to be able to feel what people feel when they think of the sentence: “Here’s looking at you kid.”



The Grinch Who Stole Valentine’s Day


            It’s Valentine’s Day but you have no date. It’s supposed to be Lovers’ Day but you have no one to love, you have no one to tell you they love you, you have no one to tell that you love them; you are alone. Somehow somewhere you’ve managed to convince yourself that alone protects you, you’ve told yourself that alone is good, that love is not for everyone, especially not for you. Somehow you’ve gotten yourself into believing it’s better to be by yourself, that your life is about you and you don’t have to share feelings with someone else to enjoy your life. But you know the truth, you know what you are, you know alone is not alive and you know that you’re not just alone. You’re not alive.

You’re dead inside. It’s the reason you can’t sleep at night, it’s the reason you work your ass off to prove yourself, it’s the reason you don’t care, it’s the reason you don’t love. You’ll like to believe it’s simple, you’d love to believe love was not meant for you, you’d love to believe that you’re alone because that’s how its meant to be, you’d love to believe you’re one of those people who are not supposed to be happy with their life. But it isn’t. You are meant to be happy, you’re meant to be loved and you’re meant to love. It’s not a primary defect; a broken heart isn’t something you were born with. It’s because you know the truth. You know that love is just a ruse. You know that there is no such thing as true love, you know that it is impossible to be spend the rest of your life completely satisfied with someone, you know people cheat, you know people say they love you when they don’t and others don’t even give the courtesy of a preceding false positive. You know people manipulate each other, you know people lie to each other, and you know people could be married but   actually hate each other and can’t bear to look each other in the face but want to deceive the world. You know love cannot make up for peoples’ deficiencies, you know people are hopelessly naïve and entirely ignorant. You know people fight, not just metaphorically, but they literally fight. They throw punches at each other and they hit each other with as many pain-inflicting objects as they can lay their hands on. You know people insult each other, the ones that are supposed to be in love, the ones that are supposed to be happy, the ones that are meant to be alive.

Love changes people; it turns them into monsters. Love pretends to be okay. Love believes it deserves what it knows it doesn’t. Love shatters your heart to a million pieces. Love makes you cry day after day after day. Love takes advantage of you; love controls you. Love tells you “she’s just my secretary”. Love has man-friends. Love slaps you in the face when you question his morality. Love leaves you and your unborn child. Love beats you behind closed doors. Love was the one who gave you that scar. Love was the one who put a gun to your head. Love reproaches you. Love makes grown-ups cry like babies. Love treats you like trash. Love will sleep with you today and call you a whore tomorrow. Love will never take you seriously. Love will ask you to trust him but won’t trust you. Love will take all you’ve got and leave you with nothing.

You know the truth. Love is about smiling for the cameras, love is about you two looking good together, love is about kissing in the hallway where everyone can see and love is about how many cows were killed on your wedding day. So you close your heart; you kill yourself over and over. You dull your emotional senses; you show no love and expect none in return. You become selfish; you live life for you. You flee from company and you go for alone. You shut people out; you alienate. You refuse to love because you know the truth: that love is pain. Love is anguish, love is like killing yourself a thousand times over, love is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and love is a devil’s favor. Love is not real but it’s all pretending; it’s a paralyzed state of mind. And the idea that love is a river that never runs dry, that love is our reason to live, that love is indeed a beautiful thing, that love makes you happy and satisfied, that love is hearing laughter in the rain, that love will take away all the pain of loss? That’s the fantasy; that’s the illusion. That is the lie and to live in that reality is to live in a lie; to live in that reality is to not be alive.

Alone is not dead; alone is alive. Alone is being aware of what is really going on. Alone is not wanting to be part of the fantasy world: not wanting to partake in the ruse. Alone on Valentine’s Day is not wrong, fake love on Valentine’s Day is. There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing wrong with your mind. It’s just who you are and what you know, and aren’t we all products of our experiences? Alone is alive, alone is real, alone is the truth: No matter how together we are, deep down we are all-alone and that’s okay. That’s fine by you, because you’d rather be alone for the rest of your life than experience the kind of love you know that exists.

Mark Deer