What is the real definition of a black and white photograph? When is black and white, well, not real black and white?
Technical editor Lyn Hall was proofing my book when he came across the topic of black and white photography or, rather, a debate in the narrative over some black and white photos that weren’t true black and white. He was fascinated by something he’d never read before on the topic of B+W photography.
Maxine Sewell is having problems understanding focus on her camera. She calls Mitchell Felding and asks what to do about some blurry photos she’d taken at a wedding. After a lengthy discussion about manual focus and the various auto-focus options on her camera, Mitchell realizes Maxine doesn’t know as much she should about her equipment. The conversation then switches to black and white photography – Maxine has been using a local one hour mini-lab to print out her black and white photos. It’s an entirely budget related choice to print her pictures this way, as a mini-lab charges about a third of the price… but mini-labs aren’t designed for black and white photography. The mini-lab evolved in the time of colour photography. The C-41 process IS all about colour. It’s uses colour chemicals, colour paper, colour temperatures, exposures and timing. It is NOT a black and white lab despite the fact an acceptable b+w print can be produced by one.
Mitchell asks Maxine to get a packet of her latest prints out and to spread them across a table so she can see them together. She does this and then there is an eery silence over the line. ‘What do you see?’ He asks.
The results are obvious.
The silence is soon exchanged with some questions about the definition of black and white photography and then colourful language passes over the line. She hangs the phone up on him and then calls back to have the last word on the matter… and leave a few scathing insults behind.
Ironically, the call she made to Mitchell wasn’t really about photography at all. Even the insults weren’t meant to be all that harmful. She wanted to have a drink with him. She wanted to date him. She has ulterior motives. She always has ulterior motives… and she always wants what she deserves.
More in my novel SEETHINGS. – Michael
P.S RIP Lyn Hall who passed recently but kept a thirst for knowledge alive in his mind until the very end.