Black and White — The Debacle



I processed all of my own black and white. I had not processed film for 25 years when I undertook this endeavor — in the bathroom of our Chicago apartment. Perhaps I should’ve taken a class or something. I don’t know. Some film was lost. That’s why some pictures came out like this:

A debacle, sure, but perhaps more interesting for it.

I turned our tiny hall closet in Chicago into a “light tight” room and set about learning how to spool the film out of the canisters and get them into the developer. Curses were made. Film was scrunched and twisted. I discovered darkness is a relative condition. I realized moving my bags of film from freezer to freezer and across thousands of miles was perhaps not the best idea. Some of that film was stiff, brittle and obstinate, but as Heaven and Earth (and our winter coats) are my witness, I fought the good fight, flesh versus celluloid, emulsion meeting emotion, all in an epic battle to discover what I had once thought worthy to frame in my camera’s viewfinder and fire the shutter off for that 1/1000th (or less) of a second.

I’m presenting these pictures often as they came out of the fixer bath, but since the digital world does afford us the opportunity to fix our many mistakes, I have also availed myself of the joys of cropping, retouching and have not been adverse to some of the other tools available on Photoshop. Where I have gone nuts with the digital tools, I’ll duly make note of it.