When I was first learning to paint the thing they teach you from the get-go is to understand values. I set myself a personal project to reduce everything into just a few values: white, black and as many or few shades of grey in between. I tried for three in total (white, black and one grey) to push my limits. Ultimately finding my limits to be not as bountiful as I thought.
Then I started to combine it with exploring the idea of minute moments.
Here Walter Cronkite announcing Kennedy’s death appears to be in 3 values: white, black and grey. But actually I have snuck in a really black black on the glasses and a really white white on the lens reflection. Not three values but five.
I do better with Princess Diana greeting a HIV patient with gloveless hand (a big thing at the time, whether she would or wouldn’t have gloves on). Again, a minute moment reliant on an instance of touch.
Here, in Kennedy’s motorcade on the Zapruder footage I have thrown all my own rules to the wind. Four greyscale values plus the main characters picked out in two-value colours. Kennedy in blue, Jackie in pink, close witness Rosemary Willis in her red skirt.
Here Jean Hill is in red and Mary Moorman in blue. As an aside, Mary Moorman is taking a Polaroid, which I revisit later.
At about this time, heady with the rush of my values success, and having found the whole Zapruder footage, frame by frame, to download for free, I made the rash promise to turn each and every frame into its values equivalent. Four down, 482 to go. I then changed the parameters to every 10 frames. And shortly after that thought, I dropped the idea entirely through sheer exhaustion of just thinking about doing it.