This post is dedicated to my blog friend, George, who has taken a great interest in black and white photography recently. Personally, I love color. But there are some unique qualities to black and white photography too. And it doesn’t surprise me that in this digital age, there are some who wish to explore the possibilities of shooting monochrome.
This photograph was taken on my Horseman 4×5, a camera I’ve loved dearly for many years, but now hardly ever use since the switch to digital. I miss it. The camera, though a tool, became something like a friend to me. It was the second most reliable tool I ever had. The first being a Swiss army knife, that I carry to this day in my pants pocket. It was expensive when I first bought it. And I didn’t know if I could afford it. And then later, it was often too heavy and too slow. It was work just carrying it around with me. But it accompanied me through so many stages of my development, and I’ve never met a camera that was better than this one.
I believe that an artist has to be pretty selfish or self centered in order to produce work. I have always been quite sensitive; sensitive to what’s going on inside other people… to moods, thoughts, feelings… and emotions. At some point, I discovered that it was difficult to show my work to certain people before I was finished with the production of that work. Because hearing the response of that person, would influence the way I worked. Often, I didn’t have to hear. It was enough to feel. Sometimes, it would cause me to stop working altogether. Others may have had similar experiences, and built a thick shell around themselves in order to protect themselves from too many influences. I felt that the sensitivity itself was a gift, and so rather than build walls around me, I kept learning how to be more sensitive.
However, in order to survive as an artist, I learned that privacy was necessary. And I built a back room in my mind, as a mental work place, where I wouldn’t be disturbed. In order to maintain my ability to work as a creative artist, I have maintained this back room all through life, and it now exists on my computer too. On the computer, it’s not a place of work, actually… it is a place for ideas.
Our holiday of Passover starts tomorrow evening. There were things I planned to write about on Friday. But because of the death of my friend, I have been in another mood for the last few days. I’m going with the flow. It is against the rules of our religion to mourn on a Sabbath or holiday. So I will make the most of these in-between days, and then make the most of the holy days, I hope. Best wishes to all.
Please Note: Some readers have made a connection between George, to whom this post was dedicated, and my friend David, who died last week. There is absolutely no connection. George is a blog friend (http://thefuzzyfoto.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/faux-ilford/), whom I’ve never met personally, who is interested in black and white photography, is a fine woman, and I wish her a long and healthy life. David is an old friend of mine for more than 40 years; never read one of my blogs, didn’t know English, and never used a computer in all his life.