Some of you may have seen my Facebook post a few days ago about finding a lab while at my annul convention that prints on real black and white paper and develops in black and white chemistry. Why is this making me salivate, let me explain.
As a photographer, one of my fondest memories was when I was in the darkroom. The amazement as you watched your image emerge on a piece of paper in the chemistry. It was magical. I loved it so much, I bought an enlarger in college and turned my teeny tiny bathroom (6′x5′) in my apartment into a darkroom at home so I could continue working. (Thank god my roommate was patience, it was our only bathroom.)
A real black and white image these days is very valuable. In the last 12 years I have been at photographic auctions where I have watched a real black and white print sell for twice as much a giclee or digital print 3x it size. And I am not shy, so I asked someone what made it sell for so much more. It was a nice image but so was the digital/inkjet print. I was told, “it is because you know it will last forever.” Enough said.
In a black and white photographic print an image is made by the oxidation of silver grains suspended in a gelatin mix that makes up the paper emulsion. Black and white prints have been produce since the 1800′s and those images still exist. A real black and white print also offers rich blacks and creamy whites with no color cast like you get in a digital black and white print.
Don’t be fooled by a company calling it True Black and White. Ilford, a large company that produces photographic paper (this includes the paper that the real b&w images are printed on), created a digital paper called true black and white that is printed and processed through digital technology. It is still a digital print. What I found that made me so excited is a company that turns your digital file into a negative to expose the black and white paper and then hand processes it in black and white chemistry. Hence a real black and white print.
I am send my first test images off this week and I am super excited to see the results. Follow me on Facebook to find out the results.
Sorry no pictures this week…but you can check out our Facebook page to see pictures from our Annual Dog Days event.
Sad, but true…the history of millions of families is being lost every second as hard drives crash, memory cards get written over and cd/dvd of your images fail to work. As we come back from NJ, Gregg brings home with him crates of photo albums and thousands of stories (trust me there is a lot of photo albums) to go along with the photos. As we turn each page, Gregg smiles as he thinks about the great time growing up, the plays in high school and the fun times in college. Even better then that, the photos of his great grand parents, who came over from the old country to settle in this land. The picture of grandma working in a cigar factory, his great grandmother hanging laundry, his mom and god mother in a metal tub.
Gregg’s mom and godmother playing in their version of a pool.
Gregg’s grandmother is pictures front and center of this photo of an old cigar factory
in Sayreville, NJ.
Why am I telling you all this, because you can’t go back. Photographs are the history of your family. Yes, you will have the stories and memories in your head, but how do you explain what a rotary dial phone is (we still “dial” telephone numbers) or a vinyl record (even better than that an 8-track) or a typewriter (remember typing papers, ugh.) or in a few years an incandescent light bulb will no longer be available. As things change and progress, photographs remind us of stories of a different time.
This photograph of Daytona Beach, FL tells the story of a very different time and place. All that remains from this photo today is the band shell and the clock tower, the rest has been destroyed for new hotels, restaurants and shops.
A journalist at the Daytona Beach News-Journal and fellow colleague when Gregg worked there, recently wrote an article about the changes in photography (yes, I borrowed Mark’s title – but I don’t think he’ll mind). Click here for Mark’s story. (Here is the link in case it doesn’t work
We are super excited by what you can do with photographs now a days. There are so may programs out there to help you make great photographs and create fun pictures using free or inexpensive software like Photoshop Elements, Picasa, iPhoto (for my Mac friends) and Picnik. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Wait – didn’t I just say I am excited about what you can do with a photograph? With A photograph is the keyword. Not every photograph and that is the twist.
I know the current trend of “over saturated” or “bright, poppy color” as my friends call it looks cool in a photo, but it should be done for a single picture as something fun and not every picture you take. Just imagine, 10 years from now your child will need a picture of themselves for a school project and all you have is these over saturated photos. You might get this question from your child “Mom (or dad), when did Gainesville come under a nuclear attack?”
Another popular trend in filters is the old photo look. We do restoration at the studio and get people bringing in precious photographic memories from the 60′s & 70′s so we can restore the color. Again, this is good to apply to one or two pictures, but it should never be done to every photograph taken. And it should not destroy the integrity of a well-lit & exposed photograph.
So what am I trying to say – EVERYTHING in MODERATION. Make sure when you are taking photos or having them taken for you by someone else that you make sure to get straight natural color photographs as well as the ones with some special effect done to them. Photographs give us the ability to hang on to a moment in time. Let that moment in time be a true memory and not something with a lot of fancy filters. You’ll thank me in 10 years.
For many people the largest problem they have with photography is not know when it is okay to introduce artificial light, such as a flash. I hear this comment all the time, “Flash looks so harsh, natural light is better”. This is NOT true. Using flash properly looks natural and gives an image life. To better understand what I mean, let start by talking about what natural light really is…
Natural light can be defined as what ever light falls on your subject. It can be beautiful and it can be super ugly. And the really issue is to know when to use it and how to use it.
Let’s look at a picture using natural light and adding flash. I have to give a huge thanks to Erin Sellers – who let us use her pictures for this example. Erin is a client as well as a student who took our “Taking Better Pictures” class. She was proud to show me that she knew when to turn the flash on and when not to. Great job Erin!
Photography can be defined as the sculpting of light. Without light, there is no picture. With bad light there is a bad picture. But with good light, it is a memory you can cherish forever. Whether it is natural or artificial, using good light for your pictures is an important part of good photography.
Next week…Filters, fads and trends.