When I began taking my own pictures, it was in High School at West Irondequoit High School, during my Junior Year. My father was an amateur photographer and I had always wanted to give it a try. When I saw that my high school offered Photography A, B, C and D as art electives, I jumped at the chance (mostly because I cannot draw for beans). Of course, back in the old days (1988 to 1990), when I was taking HS Photo classes, it was all on black and white film. I borrowed my mother’s 35 mm Camera, a Fujica, as I did not have a camera of my own yet (I would get my Canon AE-1 until graduation from HS; a gift from my Dad).
We started the class with learning how the camera worked; F-stops, shutter speed, film speed, focus, different lenses, etc… (BORING!!!!!). We learned all the basics as well as how to take the exposed film off the roll in a darkroom or in “the bag” and doing all the processing of the film in the can with all the chemicals. Then we learned how to make the prints in the darkroom and process all the prints; developer, stop bath, fixer, stop bath. I found myself spending hours in the darkroom, playing around with different ways to expose the image on the paper. I would spend extra time after school and during study halls in the darkroom, or walking around the school with my camera, finding subject matter relating to the present project we were working on. I loved it!
The Black and White Image was beautiful to me. Stripped down; Basic. More like an Impression; more artistic than it’s color counterpart. Sometimes surreal; sometimes dramatic. I loved playing with contrast to make it more interesting; to get the image to “pop” off the paper. I was actually disappointed when we switched to color somewhere during Photo D. I felt like I was losing the art of it all and my photos seemed more pedestrian; just like everyone else’s. I felt like the color robbed all the creativity.
I have since learned to love the color image just as much as the monochrome image. For quite a while, just because of ease, i took exclusively color images. Black and White film was hard to find, and getting the film processed was more expensive.
Then, AHHHHHHHHH; Digital came around!!! Now every shot I take is both color and black and white.
Take a look at more of my Black and White Images at the below websites. I have an entire album devoted to Black and White on the Instaprints.com site.