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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Black and White

Pilings at the Keyport Marina
In college, I took a course black and white photography, long before digital photography was invented. I took pictures with a 35mm SLR Minolta and developed the film in a darkroom with all the smelly chemicals. I discovered how difficult it was to capture a scene in black and white. I took hundreds of photos and made contact sheets to determine which were worthy of enlarging. I was usually disappointed. What I thought would be a terrific shot often turned out far different in shades of gray.  Often I didn't have enough contrast or I had too much. The loss of color affected everything, including the composition.

I love colors. All of them. I enjoy painting in oils and mixing the colors until I get them just right. For me, black and white photos didn't capture what I enjoyed most of all. I gave up on black and white photography. I could not convey the essence of what I wanted in a scene. There are some terrific black and white photographers, but I wasn't one of them.

A black and white page in a book is an entirely different vehicle. Words alone transport readers. Type on a white page can summon up images. Sights, smells, atmosphere, sensations, and colors are vivid in a reader's mind, which is rather miraculous.

Words are a powerful tool. Use them wisely. :-)

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