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Chronically Monochromatic: Everyday Life in Black & White

Ever since my early college days, I've loved black and white film. So I've decided to go back to my roots. Join me as I document my life in monochromatic photography.

Not too long after I graduated high school, I took a basic photography class at a community college. This class started with the very basics: shooting and developing black-and-white film. As a professional freelance videographer and photographer, I look back on that class as one of the most important, foundational classes in my educational career. It taught me the basics of exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, dodging and burning, the whole nine yards. I bought myself a Minolta SLR for the class, and just started shooting assignments. I loved it – every aspect. The shooting, the anticipation that goes along with not knowing what you’re going to get until later, the development process, seeing those negatives come out of the can with images burned onto them, watching those negatives turn into 8×10 black-and-white prints before my very eyes. It was incredible.

After that, I continued onto a university where I studied Cinema & Video Production and got a bachelor’s degree. But since I’ve graduated, I’ve come back to my love for film. I pulled out my Minolta again a few months ago and just bought some film from Wal-Mart and started shooting away. I gave my fiance a Holga 135BC for her birthday and got her interested in analogue photography as well. We’d buy film from the drug store and shoot pictures during walks around the neighborhood, then get them developed and post them on Facebook. Soon, I found the Lomography website and learned that there was a huge community of people who shared my love of film.

With my renewed love in film photography came a longing for those days of black-and-white photography. Watching “Wait Until Dark” with Audrey Hepburn and seeing her character’s husband developing prints in his home-based darkroom only strengthened my desire. I found an App geared towards a “noir” style of photography, which simply desaturated your photos and allowed you to boost contrast and add vignettes or hotspots. It’s a simple program, but to me, it was beautiful.

At first I simply used it for photos taken with my smartphone. But then I started using it on 35mm scans, often with stunning results. Simply desaturating these shots gave them a whole new look and feel. And I loved it.

Thus began my journey into black and white photography. I recently bought some Kodak black-and-white film, with which I hope to hone my technique even further – this way I’ll be locked in to the monochromatic format, and I’ll have to make every shot count.

So what in the world is my goal in all of this? To take photos of everyday situations and capture them in the most stylistic way possible. Will I achieve this? That’s for you to decide. That brings me to my second, and more important goal: to provide you with at least some small measure of enjoyment.

written by joefrank

1 comment

  1. sirio174

    sirio174

    bw is great and the smile in the last photo is wonderful!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam