Nuance Erika Masterson 2020


In a recent service our pastor brought up the word “Nuance”. I’ve sorta been secretly obsessed with nuance, so here are my thoughts added with photography analogies! (Cause I can’t help it!😂)

One of the characteristics of being a “peace maker” is understanding the complexities of people and situations; that it’s not just black and white. Nuance is the complexity, the grey area in between. Black and white thinking is the opposite of being a peace maker. It’s a gift to understand the nuance. This got me thinking about black and white film/prints as the perfect analogy. It’s black and white yes, but only the extreme ends of the scale are actually pure black or pure white. All the tones from 2 through 9 are different complex shades of grey. First and For-most , “light” is what creates all the tones. Those tones are made from a blending of the black and white. It’s those tones that give the print luminance and life. And just like this, God is in the details and the blending. He’s in the nuance. The truth lives in the in-between, in the subtleties and gradations. If we only see the black or the white we miss him. We miss mercy and empathy. We become legalistic and quick to judge, quick to condemn. Quick to divide. If a black and white print was just pure black and pure white, it would have too much contrast, sharpness, harshness . This is what we see when we don’t look for the nuance. 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.Matthew 5:9 nu·ance/ˈn(y)o͞oˌäns/

Learn to pronounce
noun: nuance; plural noun: nuances

  1. a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound."the nuances of facial expression and body language 
  2. verb: nuance; 3rd person present: nuances; past tense: nuanced; past participle: nuanced; gerund or present participle: nuancing give nuances to."the effect of the music is nuanced by the social situation of listeners
fine distinction, subtle distinction/difference, shade, shading, gradation, variation, modulation, degree, subtlety, nicety
Erika Masterson
December 7, 2021