Being in the printing and advertising business, my father always had an odd assortment of cameras at his office and at home, including the first Polaroids, Brownies, and twin lens models. He was very open about me using them. Mostly for play, but this certainly piqued my interest at a relatively early age. My own first camera was a Kodak Instamatic. I was 15. The film was color because color was new and fresh and wonderful. These little cameras - sturdy and inexpensive - put photography in the hands of regular people, opening a whole new world, just as the iPhone had the potential to make everyone an amateur videographer/documentarian. It has changed how we see and communicate life.
But a huge part of me loves black and white photography. My darkroom course work was just as exciting, if not more so, than that Instamtic camera. To smell the chemicals, pull the greys, blacks, and whites and achieve the boldness or subtleties of them in a particular image was magic. The other day, I had changed inks from matte black to glossy on my trusty printer to experiment with a couple of new papers, and realized, once again, how incredible a bold black and white image can be. One black and white shot of the bottle of Zolo wine was featured in this blog two weeks ago. But there was another that was angular and bold and screamed black and white. I printed it and am looking at the print right now.
There is nothing like black and white subject matter to make a great black and white photograph, given the lighting it needs, such as the white shirt and black vest shown below.
Then there are the more subtle subjects that reveal multiple depths and shades of grey, such as the iconic San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. The partly cloudy day rendered the solid edifice softer, with less profound blacks and whites.
The next two interior shots of Melk Abbey in Austria carried much less light (and flash lighting was not allowed for preservation purposes), thus giving this staircase reflection and the gallery shot a huge span of greys.
While snow continues to blanket the landscape, the huge variations and possibilities in black and white photography continue to be on my mind.
until next Monday,
a passion for the [email protected]