Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Gallery - Week 36 - Black & White

This week's Gallery prompt is 'Black & White'.

I am old enough to remember when pretty much all photography was black and white - colour being somewhat cost prohibitive. My dad had one of those box cameras that he used to capture some images of our rather uninspired annual family holiday to Butlins in Barry Island. It was all a bit of a pallaver looking down into the view finder which I think I'm right in saying gave you an inverted image. I was not allowed to touch it!

I also remember my very first camera - a Kodak Instamatic complete with click in flash cubes. It was bought for me to take on a School Cruise on the SS Uganda. I have no idea what happened to the pictures or the camera, but I vividly recall over enthusiastically photographing the horizon during a stretch of a few days at sea with no port of call. By now, colour photography was the norm but the cost of film cartridges, flash cubes and processing was such that for me, as a hobby, it was not encouraged. Perhaps my parents felt that my collection of 'seascapes' did not represent value for money!

It wasn't until my days as a University student that I was thoroughly bitten by the photography bug. I had a boyfriend who was a very keen amateur photographer. My relationship with him didn't last but the love of photography that he inspired in me has grown from strength to strength over the years.

I bought myself a Cosina 35mm SLR camera. It was a very big deal to me as penniless student but it was worth every scraped together penny. If I remember rightly, my dad later gave me a cheque to cover the cost of it (perhaps he felt guilty for not showing more appreciation of my seascapes!) My sister was a very willing model for some of the more whacky ideas I had for photographs and we did loads of fun photo shoots. Without the benefit of my own darkroom, I then had to send the film off for processing and wait for the results of our artistic endeavours. It was very frustrating. It was also still quite an expensive hobby so I had to resist the temptation to click away at the shutter. Each shot would be very carefully considered in terms of composition, settings and focus in order to achieve the desired effect with minimal wastage. I did occasionally experiment with black and white film which was now a desirable option rather  than your only choice!

The dawn of the digital age has been a dream come true for me. The ability to view photographs instantly, to be able to take many shots without incurring costs, to crop and edit and manipulate the images... it has freed me to experiment in all sorts of ways. I still have a lot to learn about its capability but absolutely adore my Nikon D60 Digital SLR (a 45th birthday present from my husband).

Becoming a mum means that you are never without a subject that you feel passionately about. I love photographing my kids and recording their journeys through life.

The photograph I am posting for the gallery is one of my daughter taken about a year ago. She is wearing a 'Hundred and One Dalmatians' cardigan which I thought set a black and white mood. I love black and white portraits - there's something about stripping away the colour that makes me feel closer to the essence of the subject. This then, is my scruffy, bright eyed, pensive little black & white girl...


  1. Hello there. How very lovely to 'meet' you. Totally loving your blog background (very inkeeping with the Gallery theme!)
    I did have to laugh at 'click in flash cubes'. I'm all yes, yes, yes, I remember those!
    But you're totally right, stripping away the colour does offer a whole new dimension to a photo. x

  2. Ah, she isn't scruffy, she's scrummy. Those eyes! Love your recollections regarding photography & cameras. Nice to meet another Nikon girl. How are you getting on with it?

  3. I love the Nikon - very comfortable and satisfying to use - and relatively easy to get the result I want. My big problem now is that I have so many photos on my computer that it is becoming a bit of a mission to sort through them. I really need to get organised and introduce a system!

  4. Such a beautiful little girl and a fabulous picture of her


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