Topic: HOW TO DARKEN INACTIVE IMAGES?

hello good ppl! how do i darken or make the inactive images at the sides black? it seems to distract the focus on the middle vertical image. i know i can make them further apart but it'll look funny for the rest horizontal images. help!

see screen capture at: pasembur[dot]files[dot]wordpress[dot]com/2009/02/how-to-darken[dot]gif