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Portraits of Innocence: 35 Years Old, Forever Young

These black and white analog portraits from the late 1970s are still fresh, appealing and new. Shot with (always) available light with a Pentax screw mount analog camera and processed in my bathroom, they return to life with the help of my "digital darkroom" and are the precursors to my new/old "analog lifestyle."

My young ones, at work in 1978. They both became writers. Note the photo light in the background, from my copying stand.

Forty years ago, when my daughter and I were young, I bought an analog Pentax, took a photo class at the local university, and was hooked. All right, I confess. I’ve been hooked since I was six. Oh – the kinetic memories I have of my Brownie and the way the Verichrome Pan 127 crawled across its little red back window!

But I digress. I documented my daughter from 1973 on; processing negatives and prints in the bathroom (always B&W) much to my family’s disgruntlement. For some reason, they objected to the developing trays in the bathtub…and other little bits, like photo equipment creeping into every room. I carried the screw-mount Pentax everywhere and, I expect, nothing and no one was safe. I’ve the negatives to prove it.

When my son was born on September 2, 1978, portraiture became a way of life. This week is his 35th birthday and these photos are still a celebration.

September, 1978

I consider myself a “street photographer.” I try to eavesdrop on life with my camera, seldom using flash, seldom posing the subject (or, indeed, alerting the subject). My style, I hope, is full of storytelling, perhaps a tad dark and dramatic.

I believe these photos speak for themselves. Seeking and digitizing their negatives has brought them to life again.

Recently I’ve returned to analog photography, embracing half frame, 120 format and panoramic cameras (mostly Russian) to the puzzlement of all but my lovely daughter-in-law. I’ve embraced, again, the style of photography I most love. I can feel it in my eyes, in my fingers, in my soul, as I go back to those reflexes I’d almost forgotten. And each time I explore a new camera (mostly Russian items) I discover a new slant on seeing. Yes, with the old eye (and the eyes, I’m afraid, are getting old, but I still can frame a photo with the best of them!) and the old reflexes. I’m simultaneously going backwards and forwards in time as I use the new/old cameras and rediscover my near-forgotten reflexes.

And now – perhaps the best part.

I’ve another little one to photograph, the daughter of the little boy in these shots. She looks a lot like him. And me. And other people, of course. I could show you the shots.

But that’s another story.

written by rossel

8 comments

  1. hervinsyah

    hervinsyah

    What a wonderful love

    7 months ago · report as spam
  2. grazie

    grazie

    beautiful photos and article

    7 months ago · report as spam
  3. segata

    segata

    Excellent article :)

    7 months ago · report as spam
  4. adamo-75

    adamo-75

    Wonderful photos and article!

    7 months ago · report as spam
  5. superlighter

    superlighter

    Great reading!

    7 months ago · report as spam
  6. billolog

    billolog

    Impressionist painting has made our minds do much of the work, filling in the details, blending the colors. B&W photos seem to require that also. Being familiar with the colors in real life, we must imagine the colors and textures. There is no lack of warmth and skin tones in these B&Ws. Very nice work!
    7 months ago · report as spam
  7. ksears119

    ksears119

    Great article, thanks for sharing.

    7 months ago · report as spam
  8. guanatos

    guanatos

    these are wonderful! thanks for sharing :)

    7 months ago · report as spam