Sunday, November 9, 2014

The B&W Collection

My participation this week in a national B&W photo shoot-off on Facebook, sort of a chain letter for photographers, has reawakened my old love of B&W photography, which got buried by the advent of digital equipment and the loss of my old Omega enlarger during a move back in the 1980s.

My grandfather, Carroll “Zach” Zachrisson, a commercial photographer in Boston for his lifetime, got me into the darkroom at a tender age (like 12?), and hooked me on the smell of fixer and the absolute imperative of achieving a true black in every print. Like many old-school photographers, Grampa never really liked color, which he said was a distraction that could fool people into liking poor pictures just because of the reds and greens.

Photography, Zach taught me, was about form and line, texture and composition. Any idiot can take a pleasing color photo, but strip away the distractions to see the photographer’s eye and art. Digital photography—and now “smart” (ha!) phones, Instagram and Facebook—has killed most real photography.

So this #fivedayblackandwhitechallenge is really nice opportunity to rediscover what I loved about black and white, and to see if I have any photographer’s eye still lurking behind the color. Grampa would have liked this. I can hear him now: “There’s no black in this shot. Go back and print it again!”

Day 1

Mendon Peak and the north end of the Wellsvilles, Cache Valley, Utah. 2011
Day 2

The crazed Konga Band at the 2011 Kinetic Sculpture Race, Arcata, California.

 Day 3

The place where the land ends and the ocean begins is blurred on Trinidad State Beach, Northern California.
 Day 4

Reminiscent of the Jode Family, a farm truck sits in dusty fields on the mountain benches above Petersboro, Utah.
 Day 5

Hanging out on the Plaza in Arcata in front of the beauty shop, next to the Sidelines Bar.

Day 6*

The aging 45-foot double-ended sloop Wakan decomposing but still afloat at Woodley Island, Eureka, California. *Yes, Day 6 of a 5-day challenge. I can’t stop! The rest of the story: Just days after posting this photo, the Lost Coast Journal ran a story featuring the Wakan and other old, unwanted boats, destroyed at Field’s Landing. See “Like a Funeral,” Dec. 3, 2014

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