August 15, 2015

Black & White Photography

By Christine Pigott ’16

In Art 196: Black and White Photography this summer, I learned the history of photography and how the subject matter and development of film have changed over time. I learned how to operate a 35mm camera with manual controls, how to process film, and how to print my own photos. As opposed to digital photography, you can’t get a preview of the photo you have taken until after you have developed the film. Before taking a photo, it is important to ensure that you’re using the correct exposure and paying close attention to the balance, framing, perspective, composition, and contrast of the photo.

The course assignments were centered on different ways to view and think about photography. Assignment 1 covered the fundamentals and forms of photography, focusing on incorporating as many styles as possible. Assignment 2 focused on shooting in as many different lighting conditions as possible and making light the subject of the photo. Finally, Assignment 3 covered documentary and street photography, in which I photographed people and places around Easton.

A black and white photo of trees and bushes creating a tunnel over a sidewalk

I took this photo as part of Assignment 1 while walking around Easton. I was captivated by the ways in which the trees and bushes created a tunnel over the sidewalk, and how the light passed through these branches.

 

A black and white photo of a staircase, with light hitting the railing and creating a pattern

This photo is a part of Assignment 2, in which we tried to make light the subject of the photo. I like the way in which the light hits the railing and creates a pattern, and the contrast between the light and the shadow on the stairs.

In the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights library, light streams in from the tall windows and reflects onto the bookcases and staircases.

The library in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights is an interesting place to focus on light as the subject of the photo; the light streams in from the tall windows and reflects onto the bookcases and staircases.

A black and white photo of the Quadrant Book Mart Coffeehouse store front, with a reflection of buildings across the road

The final assignment focused on documentary and street photography. The reflection of buildings across the road in the windows creates a unique perspective on everyday structures.

A black and white photo of an older man wearing jeans and a T-shirt outside his house, with one hand behind his back

Photographing people in their everyday lives can make an interesting photo. It’s intriguing to see the ways that people choose to present themselves after you ask to take their photo. When I took his photo, he hid his cigarette behind his back.

A 77-year-old man on his bicycle

Also a part of the documentary photography assignment, I was surprised how much you can learn about a person when you ask to take their photo. I took a photo of this 77-year-old man who has had four strokes and two heart attacks, and now bikes 4 miles each day.

A pond with grass and sunlight reflecting brightly on the water

In class we discussed abstraction and how focusing on something ordinary can make an interesting photo, like light reflecting off a puddle. Unfortunately this photo got stuck to the back of a different photo so the top left corner was partially torn off.

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