Many people wonder why we still use black and white photography. For many, it is an archaic form of photography. However, for an individual like myself raised watching black and white movies and reading a great deal of books that presented black and white photography, it provides a sense of comfort and reminds me of the intrigue that was instilled within me when I looked at photographs.
My love for photography, especially black and white photography began in my childhood. I was five years old when I first discovered a old fashion camera in my parents room, under their bed. The camera was in this large light brown suit case. I remember reaching for it and pulling it and amazed at how heavy it was. The excitement of dragging that suit case out and all the thoughts going through my mind about all the different treasures that may be hidden within filled me with indescribable joy. Eventually I pulled the suit case out from under the bed, slowly I opened it and was perplexed with what I saw. Another box, with a leather type cover, some knobs and a handle and what appeared to be a small door on the back. After a few moments of examining it, I dared myself to open it. When I did, the front end of the box extended further, connecting the front end to the base with a accordion type of rubber. After examining the device I soon realized it was a camera and to insure that I was correct, I ran to the encyclopedia collection (this was in the 1980’s no computers) my parents had purchase for me. I searched for the image until I found a similar device in the book confirming it was a camera. From that day on my mind would imagine so many wonderful and fantastic things as I pretended to be a photographer with the large, cumbersome and heavy camera. Needless to say, my love for photography began with this simple camera. Here is a Rochester Camera Co. Pony Premo No. 6 Folding Plate Camera, not identical to the one I had a child but close in style.
My love for photography was further instilled when I enter kindergarten. Just as they do today, we were required to sell candy and when we sold an X amount of candy you would win a prize. I (actually, my parents) sold a great deal of candy (first time and only time they did that lol), and I won my first color film camera. It was a simple 110 film camera from Kodak with film ISO 200. The camera below is is similar in body to the one I had, however, my camera was a brownish-tan tone and next to the camera is the type of film/roll that was used.
Photos above were located on google.com/image
Before the age of digital camera’s and lacking my own development studio for my film, I wasted a great deal of my father’s money having him purchase and print my photo’s at the local pharmacy. I took my camera everywhere, to the park, to the zoo, on the train….if I had film, I brought my camera. My parent’s photo album contains some of my better photos, most were horrible shots, either blown out, to dark or just poor composition. Nearly three years with my prize until it finally broke. Many years would pass before coming across another camera.
While in elementary school I came across another vintage camera, someone gave it to my parents, I don’t know who or why, but it was given to them. The camera was a Fujica IIBS Six Camera, 1950’s. The camera had its tan case and was a beautiful piece of equipment. I never had the opportunity to use the camera, but that did not stop my imagination nor my curiosity to research what type of photos were taken.
Photo taken from google.com/images
Over the years I would spend a great deal of time in the library (once again, computers were not readily available—and if they were, they were still in the infant stages). I became a fan of black and white photography. When studying a photo I was able to concentrate on all that was represented in the photo, no distractions with color just the photo and the story it told. The lack of color also allowed my mind to fill in the blanks, I would imagine how the scene looked in color, which intrigued me even further. Reviewing history books of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, learning of the works of photographers like Ansel Adams, Mary Ellen Mark and Elliott Erwitt and others, my love for black and white photography grew.
Don’t get me wrong, I love color photography as well, but, I prefer black and white. There are some moments that are captured better in black and white rather than color. The lack of color in a photo allows a person to see the photo for what it is, to understand what is being said or what mood is being presented.