Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Black and White *Repost

This is a repost as I thought it might inspire some film Usage!

As much as I love the ease of digital photography, believe me I REALLY love it, I still have an undying passion for black and white silver prints. During this semester I have been working only in film. I have been learning many darkroom and lab techniques that have been used for years and years.

The difference between digital and film photography is that with digital there is so much room for "faking it". If you don't really possess technical skills or knowledge of photography you can still take a great picture and if you can't you can always make it look great during post with photoshop or the like. With film photography you may be able to get a nice shot but you'd better be able to process that film and print it well or it will be very clear you don't know what you're doing.

Film photography is a craft. From the time you capture the image you are thinking about the light and the end result you want. You are planning the process time before you even capture the image. You plan how to print each image and try over and over to get the result you want. You dodge and burn and choose your filters and what paper to use. You time everything from your exposure to your developing to your final wash. I love the quiet time of print spotting to remove that lone piece of dust off the print...

This is the true meaning of the word Craft. Pouring one's heart into creating a piece of art that will never be made exactly the same again. It's a one of a kind. So when you see a black and white photograph, especially a masterfully printed image, take a moment to ponder everything the artist went through to bring that image to life.

I am, in no way, close to being a master printer. If I could have anything it would be to have the time to attempt to become one. Here are some images I created as a self portrait and later I may post a digital image of how I presented them as a sun-shaped clock of the 12 hours that fill my days.

Be true to your craft whatever it may be!


  1. Hi Kelley,
    another great post! And you are close to getting me dust off those old film cameras... I started all this photography lark in secondary school; we had a dark room. Way back before digital. Boy, we spent hours in there. And it was great fun. But a heck of a lot of work!

    I love these shots, especially the ones with movement and blur.

    all the best

  2. Maybe I should have saved my monologue in response to your last post, for this one ;-)

    I think digital vs film, is a bit like the old 35mm vs Field camera analogy. Shooting landscapes with full size field cameras seemed so comparatively slow against the convenience of 35mm, but it taught you to be considered, methodic and deliberate in its approach to taking an image. Perhaps with the ease / accessibility of the digital era. 35mm / medium format film has now become the new field camera.

    Love the lighting in the shot with the glasses!



  3. Noel, Just do it! I agree it is hard work, seems so much like what I always thought a hobby should be. Something that takes the time and is truly a craft. I guess I tend to get into a work flow with digital, and more of a time of creating with film, make sense? I'll have to see if I can push you along by posting some film shots as I make them...
    Thanks! Kel
    PS I plan on taking my film to a lab at this point since I don't have access to a darkroom right now.
    I know, I'm a cheater.

  4. David, Agreed on your comments about cameras. I love a 4x5 but seriously a ton of work and then the horror when something goes wrong and your precious 5 sheets of film are somehow destroyed.

    I think I would reserve that type of work for fine art where one image or piece of work would be what it was all about.

    Thanks, for commenting, Kelley

  5. These are really beautiful! Your family is so blessed that you know how to do all of this. The memories you are capturing for them this way are priceless!