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Seeing through my University Years in Black and White

Photography is a means of recording forever the things one sees for a moment. - Aaron Sussman

When I think of black-and-white film, I think of being in that darkroom in the lower levels of Hunter Building at my old university. There is something about the smell of chemicals, the lack of light, and the way that time seemed to just disappear while you were in there. These galleries are an insight into the colorful stories of my black-and-white photographs taken during my time at university doing my Fine Arts degree.

Being able to look back at a moment in time is one of the main reasons that we all take photos. For the first university level traditional film photography course I did, the theme that we had to work around on was memory. My assignment ended up being loads of dark landscapes, mainly of the sunset and sunrise but it is the photos that were taken around this project that mean so much more to me now. Photos of ex boyfriends when times were good, areas in my hometown that now have changed with new buildings being built, my dog that has now passed away, babies that are now children, my new car, which these days I would never take a photo of as it’s just something that is always there.

In my second year, we were introduced to 120 film and the Bronica. It is still one of my dream cameras to own but thankfully with my Holga and Diana F+, I can still use the 120 film, that, during that course I fell so much in love with. That year we were also introduced to documentary photography which has been one of my favorite genres of photography every since.

Also in my second year in another course, we did a project in conjunction with the Biotechnology students. Basically what I ended coming up with were layered negatives of familiar things from around my home built in the 50’s and not changed much, to make something new and abstract. This was before I was introduced to Lomography so the good old ‘mx’ switch wasn’t around on my old Pentax film camera so I had to do in the hard, painstaking way in the darkroom.

In my third year of uni, I went on exchange to Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada, which changed my life in so many ways that I can’t even describe but this series of ‘Mug Shots’ was shot with 120 film, and instead of tray developed which was what I was used to, it was developed using a fancy machine. As the test of time shows though, this magic machine that you put your glossy photo into from the enlarger then in a minute and a half have it come back out and be developed, fixed, and dried has fallen short compared to my other prints that were tray developed. These ‘mug shots’ were of the panhandlers from the city, mostly not including their faces just the ‘mugs’ or implements they use to ask for money from people.

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