BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography of New York by Dave Beckerman

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Month: March, 2001

Early Review

27 March, 2001 (15:24) | No comments

I was reviewed in Black and White Photography Magazine, apparently published in the UK And apparently favorably. What’s amazing, is that they didn’t even let me know. I found out about it by one of their readers in the UK I’ve been trying to contact them to get a copy. So far, no luck. The web is a weird and mysterious place. That’s for sure.

Influences… (Early Days)

21 March, 2001 (15:19) | No comments

Some thoughts on influences…

I would like to replace the word ‘influence’ with ‘learned from’.

Walker Evans spent about a year shooting on the subway of NYC. I had seen his work, and thought that given the use of Autoexposure, Autofocus, better film stock ie. technical advances, that in some ways I might be able to improve on what he had got. I actually don’t think that I succeeded, but that my subway images are different than his. The idea seems to be to be aware of what others have done, and then to forget about it.

Cartier-Bresson once said that he could tell if someone was a good photographer by walking along the street with them and watching how they ‘held the camera.’ And that’s a piece of learning that I got from him that influences the way I take street pictures. I know that he walked around with a 35mm and sometimes with a 90mm. That also influenced me for a long time, and in general I do the same. But the subject matter, that I shoot is different.

I really don’t think that Ansel Adams did very much interesting work with the small format camera and/or people. But he did come up with a way of showing and describing how to think about the tonal values of black and white (the Zone system). Although I don’t use the Zone system exactly while walking along the street, its something that I have studied and it influences you later, when you print.

In short, learn, emulate, understand other photographers (artists) and then try and forget it and do your own.

The Darkroom Days

2 March, 2001 (15:14) | No comments

I’ve really given up on the digital black and white printing. I guess I experimented with it for about six months. The results weren’t bad, but not the same tonal range as the darkroom stuff I’m doing. Also, the equipment, seems more finicky. The printer was working fine for a month or so, and then I started getting banding. I spent a lot of money on cleaning, using different inks etc. but for sure the results when you are doing a large print were not as good. This, does not seem to be the case for color.

Today I’ve been printing for a few hours, and I’m really banging them out. The secret, at least for me, is to keep very good notes, which is not really in my character, but I’ve learned the necessity the hard way.

And the Zone VI enlarger, which I’ve been using for ten years or so, has never failed. I guess the bulb will eventually need to be replaced, but that’s about it.