Black and White

Black and White

I love black and white photography. It’s where I started when I purchased my first camera. My next door neighbor where I grew up went to Ohio State University and got a degree in Medical Communication.  As part of his education, he took photography classes.  He used to come home and show me some of the things he had been doing.  I was blown away by what you could do with photography.  I decided that at some point in my life, I would get my own camera and learn how to use it.  Later, when I attended Ohio State, I got that camera and took classes on photography and photojournalism.  I  learned how to use that camera (a Minolta SRT 201) and process the black and white film myself.

 I loved being in the dark room with the safety light burning over my head. I loved the smell of the developer and fixer. I loved watching the print emerge from the developer as you lifted and lowered the developing tray. I loved bringing the images out into the regular light and really looking closely at them to see where I needed to do extra work, dodging areas that were too dark and burning in areas that were too light.  I loved getting the spot tone out and painting little dots of black on the spots that showed up on the print (today we use the clone stamp and healing brush to fix those).  I loved mounting the image onto the mat board and seeing the finished product, or seeing your images in print in the newspaper.

I miss that. I miss being in a room full of enlargers and other photographers around you working on their images. But with digital photography taking over from film photography, much easier to do all that in the computer. Now, I long for the time I spend behind the camera composing an image, really looking at the light and making sure that the image looks great and capturing the image. I look forward to getting home and getting the images into the computer so that I can start to really look at them, really start to see what needs to happen to make that a truly special image.

For these images above, I use a software tool to convert them to Black and White.  I love the way that it gets the tones just right and it also allows me to emulate different film styles, like Kodak Panatomic X 32 ASA film.  I really liked shooting that film.  It had a slow speed with a really nice fine grain to it, but the best part was the velvety blacks and luminous whites that you got from that film.  

Jeffrey Mansion

Jeffrey Mansion Collage

I spent the afternoon yesterday taking photographs of a couple of models at the Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio. This is a beautiful building and grounds. It’s part of the City of Bexley Parks department now. We weren’t able to shoot inside the building, but around the mansion there are lots of great spots for getting a great image. At some point, I’d love to do something inside the building. It has beautiful woodwork and great lighting. The front windows remind me of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, with lots of squares of clear white glass. The patterns inside should be outstanding.

We spent most of our time along the rock wall on the back of the house. I loved how there was an archway and stairwell leading up to the lawn. At the top of the stairwell is a small building made from the same rocks looking out onto a large greenspace (today that greenspace is used for playing little league soccer and football.

Layla and Michael, my subjects, are actually a couple so it made capturing these images extra special. I’ve worked with Layla before. She’s a natural. She knows how to move and pose to get great images. This was Michael’s first time in front of the camera and, though he seemed a little shy, he did a great job. I wanted a playful, romantic feel to the images and I think I got some great results. Feel free to comment below with thoughts and suggestions.