The Little Moments: Black and White Photography

The negative scanning process is always revelatory. When I begin the process, I tend to read the best density samples and scan them first. Often these provide me with the best prints, but months later I find myself scanning the remainders only to discover forgotten moments that I love. This sleepy Thanksgiving I decided to move through a series of black and white negatives to see what I might have missed the first time through. The first photograph taken at San Gines’ churros cafe holds a romantic look that blurs the main subject. The Hasselblad CB 60mm lens holds its own in the low light.What I love about shooting film is that mistakes still provide a pleasant photograph, whereas a failed digital image is beyond resurrection due to its inherent digital limitations of dynamic range. I also love waiting. Digital is quick and painless on the road. You can see what you have and when you come home it is still there. I will admit that I am jealous of many of V.’s digital photographs from our adventure – they are clear, crisp and can be more intimate than my wide angle film shots. At the same time, any travelling photographer has to accept that unless he wants to carry all of his equipment then he will need to sacrifice certain types of images for the sake of others. Foolishly, I believed that I had a roll of colour film loaded on our first day through Madrid. The deep blues of the flags and the colours of the street are lost. What I gain, however, is a mood of the subjects. The eye is not lost in the lines of colour, but moves to the faces.The gigantic mosque in Casablanca was both beautiful and sterile. The Hasselblad SWC permitted a full view of the complex, but it is only when you move closer that the scale of the architecture can be understood. Casablanca was not a memorable city by any means. Unlike its’ namesake movie, there was little exotic on the concrete streets of the hotel district, and the only place to visit was the mosque – which we did…on the way out of town.Madrid brought us through most of the old city. We walked and walked until it was time to sleep and sleep. The heat of the midday made it difficult to be outside from noon until 5pm, but we did fairly well. Madrid was a great city to visit…once…but beyond some of the stellar tapas and art museums it felt like a struggling urban area. I would not avoid visiting again, but Barcelona was far more enticing with its fashion and sea breezes.

 

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