A Study in Black & White & Housemates

Last year I had the opportunity to take a B&W film class at my school. This was my first photography class in over 3 years, and to say the least, I was bursting with emotion. Excitement, nervousness, doubt, butterflies, dread, and enthusiasm all crowed inside my heart during the first week of class. However, I quickly learned that everyone in the class was there for the same reasons: to better themselves, to strengthen their eye, and to have an amazing time experiencing a beautiful (and somewhat mysterious) art form.

I spent just about 5 months working in B&W, and while the class only dealt with film photography, I felt the need to edit my digital photos in black and white as well. . . a sensation I had never experienced before.

Before I knew it, I was making alternate edits to almost all of my photos; sucking the saturation right out and playing with levels, curves, and grain until I got that “not-quite-film-but-you-get-my-point” look.

I have shot many photos in black and white since then, but my favorite series was one of my housemates last year. I always asked them to model for me, and somehow, they always agreed ! (what on earth were they thinking?)

However, I am so glad they agreed to model for this project because these two photos are among the best I’ve ever taken:

liz alina

These portraits were taken in our basement with a simple umbrella light set-up. It was kind of thrown together and took a lot of time to get the light right, but once we did we spent about 2 hours just shooting down there.

Afterwards my housemate came to see how the editing was going. I showed her the finished product and she told me that she felt so beautiful.

THAT. . . that right there is why I love photography so much. I love making people feel good, beautiful, confident. Showing them how remarkable they are is such a blessing, and I love seeing them smile.

Since that photography class I have been editing more and more in B&W. I don’t plan to stop any time soon, and how could I? There is something so honest about black and white portraits. They seem to capture a person’s soul in a way that color simply can’t.

I miss living with these girls very much, but luckily I get to see them often and I always know I have a model on hand if I need one ! I love these girls so much and wanted to let them know, I think they are both so beautiful.

-Sam

 

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