Introducing: B&W photography
Let's turn some analog B&W digital, and create some new art
Being in the darkroom used to be one of my favorite things.
I loved going out on early morning shoots chasing the golden hour, rolling my own film canisters from a bulk loader, burning and dodging in pursuit of the perfect image, and hanging the perfect photo to dry in the red glow of the dark room.
I miss using my entirely manual Canon F1 and it’s shockingly great 50MM shooting 3200 ISO T-Max, holding my breath to get the perfect no-flash shot. The grain of those prints can be beautiful.
I stepped away from B&W photography because my life moved away from easy access to dark rooms at roughly the same time digital photography became a fun toy. Then digital grew into convenient, then excellent. For a while I shot B&W digital on an excellent Lumix using an only-save-B&W setting — so as to be forced to think about what would make a good B&W photo. Now digital photography is essentially magic with the latest computational enhancements. By itself, B&W can be as easy as a filter.
There are a couple of projects I’m introducing today.
Scan and share
None of my analog-created B&W photography exists in digital form. I’m going to fix that so that it’s easier to share.
Scanners seem to be on the outs. Ideally I’d like to digitize prints of many sizes, including many shoeboxes of store-processed casual photos and family photo albums from the last century. I’d also like to be able to scan negatives and slides. There are some interesting scanner options that fulfill some or all of the requirements — but the reviews are mixed and in many cases the equipment old enough that I suspect it wouldn’t be a good fit for my computer.
There are mail-away services that scan anything you put inside a box, but I’d like more liberty to control the results, aim to spread the work over a long span of time, and the prices of scanning-services seem geared to video.
I’ve started with the Photomyne series of apps. I looked at Photo Scan by Google but ultimately couldn’t tell if it was sort of abandoned since it hadn’t been updated in more than three years. To make things easier I picked up Photomyne’s flexible phone mount and their light diffusing photo tent too.
As I work on this part of the project, I plan to post results in a series of journal entries loaded with photos.
Shoot and print B&W analog, again
I’m going in search of the art and fun of B&W photography and dark-room development. To see if there’s still place for it in my life and share the results.