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Friday, August 13, 2004


You CAN Go Home Again...For a Visit

Fleet Street PasserbyWhen I got started in photography, it was strictly black & white.

I had just graduated from high school, and my Dad's cousins Ellen and Harold gave me a Polaroid Swinger. I genuinely liked taking photos with it, but I soon ran through two or three rolls of the expensive roll film. My friend Roger, who was a year younger and had already been the yearbook photographer at high school, offered to show me how to use my Dad's old Retina 1a and how to develop and print black & white pictures. That was it, I was hooked.

Over the next decade-plus, I did take a lot of color photos, but B&W was what I always did for serious images. And "serious" to me meant street photography. And the most serious, I tended to take with my Leica IIIc, and later, with an M-3.

When I started back into photography in late 2001, I thought I'd pick up where I left off. As Leicas of any vintage were now too expensive for me, I bought some Soviet rangefinders and started to run some B&W film through them.

Ben and I even spent an afternoon setting up a makeshift darkroom in our laundry/utility room. Like a dream from the 70's, I mixed some D-76 and some Dektol, and we developed a roll shot in my Zorki-3M. I even reprinted a few of my 30-year old negatives.

But it was just too much work for this old fart, and I soon shifted to color, and then to digital. As it turned out, I liked color and digital quite a lot, and now I truly enjoy working in it, shooting mostly patterns, shapes, and colors that I find here and there. I also find that I really like taking my time in making my images, which are mostly of inanimate subjects these days (nothing that moves much faster than a tombstone, as I like to say.)

But last weekend in NYC, I couldn't help but be inspired to do some good old street photography. The great thing is that my digital camera and workflow give me the flexibility to shoot in color but later decide to convert an image to B&W. And indeed, some of the street stuff I took looks as good, or better in B&W.

The photo I've posted here is one I took just about a year ago in Annapolis. It's actually made from a file that I scanned from a 4x6 Wal-Mart print of some rotgut dollar-a-roll Fuji print film. I rather liked the color image, but I have to admit, I like it even better in B&W. I'm going to try to find the negative and scan it directly to see if I can do better.

Well, I'm not going to return in any big way to street photography and B&W, but it'll be fun to do now and then.

Two More Shows Coming Up

From August 29th through September 28th, I'll be displaying about a dozen of my photos at the City Dock Cafe, 71 Maryland Avenue in Annapolis (just off State Circle.) The nice thing about City Dock Cafe is that unlike the Barnes & Nobel exhibit, they sell the photos right off the wall.

So I'm now looking through my photo "inventory" to pick the ones to display. From my recent experience, Annapolis photos sell well, so I'll ease off on the Artsy-Fartsy abstract images I'm so fond of and show plenty of things like City Dock Morning, Skipjack Bowsprit, and Spa Creek Sunset.

As soon as the photos come down at the Maryland Avenue place, they'll go up for the following month at the City Dock Cafe in Arnold, just a few blocks from my house.

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