Friday, August 30, 2013

the colors of black and white photography

im starting to think i should've named the blog nostalgia instead of catharsis or maybe tangent
since i always seem to be off on one...

familiar sights
when i was in high school i took a few photography classes, i loved them.
i loved the weight of the camera in my hands,
the sense of control i felt as i turned the lens to bring the world into focus.
don't get me wrong, i was never great at it, i was average at best, but i loved it.

i loved the teacher, she was like the caring and free spirited aunt i never had.

she gave me a glimpse of what other adults could be like
you didn't have to be stuffy and serious when you got older.
she was in her fifties, at least, and she had a youthful spirit for the adventure of life.
he totally ripped our idea and modernized it lol
looking back i think maybe, she was really the awkward crazy lady people made fun of.
with her quirky outfits, off the wall antics and lesson plans
 (i.e. dressing up as alex trebeck or her cowgirl cap)
but she didn't care. she was herself and she was wonderful!
she concocted this crazy camera costume idea for the homecoming parade
and talked me into wearing it. it was pretty awesome, wish i had pictures of it.
i danced at the parade and then the game and everything,
which was so completely out of character for me. no, i don't think you realize how true that statement is. im the kid who couldn't answer a question
in class with out falling to pieces. but i did it
and you know what? it was fun. i was stepping outside of my comfort zone and marching
to the beat of my own drum, just like my wonderful teacher..

but the part i think i loved the best was the dark room.
i loved the revolving door to the dark room, it screamed secret spy room to me!
it was great. it was my bat cave, dim, cool, and blissfully quiet.
the sound of the water running for the stop bath and rinses,
the hum of the enlarger, the way the air felt both cool and refreshing
as well as warm and inviting and of course the glow of the red light.
red in there wasnt anger, wasnt fear, it wasn't even the red of passion
it was a completely different shade of red.
red was peace, is that possible?

kinda like this, maybe?
there was hint of magic about the place, watching your photos appear on paper?
yeah that was definitely magic!
but there was something about the place that felt safe, like nothing bad could happen there.
i don't think i have a single memory of the place that wasn't good.
even  the pungent smell of the chemicals were comforting.
it was sanctuary.

i remember my mom asking me, when i was sophmore,
if i knew what i wanted to be when i grew up.
i told her with great conviction that i wanted to be a photographer.
she told me that's a hobby not a career. i was crushed. i didn't speak to her for a week.
she bought me a photography for dummies book as an "apology"
my mother is a bit facetious.

i hate to admit it but she was right of course, i am not a photographer.
i hung that hat up and pushed it to the back of the closet long ago.

nicer version of my camera
recently, i went thrift shopping with a friend
i wasn't looking for anything,
just window shopping really
and i found a steal a Minolta x300 for $4.99
perhaps I shouldn't have but,
i bought it on a whim, in rush of nostalgia
it's not exactly what we used in school, but it's very similar
(i think we used a Pentax k1000)
it came with a flash and mount and bag AND it works
or the camera does anyway,  i think the flash has bit the dust.
the camera is less than perfect, its a bit dirty, and the zoom lens is dented
it's missing the lens cap, but the battery works, so does the light meter, and the zoom,
it had film in it so i know the rewinder works, and i can get it to advance and shoot.
gonna take it to the camera store this weekend and get it checked out
my heads already plotting plans to revive my dark room days...
theres an old dark room in the basement at work its got an enlarger,
or course id have to buy chemicals an such...wonder if i could use it...or have it?... i digress

i happened to have the camera with me when i went by my mom's to drop off a pan i'd borrowed

so i showed it to her.
she thought it was great she sat there and played with it for an hour
and she told me a memory of my grandma that i'd never heard before.

i don't know if i've mentioned this before but my grandma was
one the most beautiful people the world has ever had the privilege to know.
im sure that's how most people feel about their grandmothers, of course...
appearance wise she was a beautiful lady but i don't mean that.
i mean the real, deep down truly amazing sense of the word beautiful.
i don't think there was anything that this woman could not do.
she could make the most wonderful somethings out of absolutely nothing.
i could go on and on about this woman, i wish i'd known her longer,
(she died the same year i told my mom i wash going to be a photographer)
been old enough to truly appreciate and know who she was,
but then again being an adult has a way of removing the soft warm tint
of all those rose colored childhood memories...
grandma's happen to be of the yellow rose variety
partially because they were her favorite but mostly because she was always
the warm afternoon sunshine on your shoulder..

the memory my mom shared, was of my grandma finding an old Brownie camera
similar to what grandma had
that someone had thrown in the dump.
with ten kids they were never rich, very far from it. this old beat up and broken camera, was quite the luxury item.
it was garbage someone tossed aside
without a second thought,.
the woman didn't know a thing about photography, she just saw something broken and thought, "hey, i could make something of this."  and she did. 
mom says they've still got some of the pictures she took on it. i'd love to see them

where was this memory when i wanted to be a photographer?

missing in action i suppose.

its not as though i was ever going become
a photographer, and its not something im particularly  bitter about.
i dont mean to sound that way, though i suspect i sound much more like a petulant child in my posts than i'd like to admit....

i just regret giving up something i loved
because of something someone told me.

don't do that shit kids.

if you love something. keep at it.
doesnt matter if you're good or not.
life's meant to be enjoyed.
enjoy it and all its colors.
for real.
do it.