Photography 101: Pursue Your Inner Dinosaur

Stephen F. Dennstedt

The world we live in is not black and white. It can be—but not really. We can make monochromatic images but they’re actually tonal gradations of gray which cover a wide spectrum—from true black to true white and the tones in-between.

I call that pursuing your inner dinosaur because old-timers like me started with black and white film back in the day. There are still good reasons to shoot black and white but many photographers find it hard to break the heroin-like rush of color.

In 1954 when I was seven years old I picked up my first vintage Kodak box camera. It used 120 black and white film and its photos were often blurry and grainy but it hooked me. I continued to shoot black and white film throughout high school and won my first photo prize in Kodak’s prestigious National High School Photography Contest in 1962 at the age of fifteen. I love color but I will often return to my black and white roots when I want to convey mood or to simply focus on a subject without color’s distracting influence. Jamie Windsor’s video below offers 9 Quick Tips for better black and white photography. Find your dinosaur.


4 responses to “Photography 101: Pursue Your Inner Dinosaur

  1. I remember starting with film in the 80s and then my dad built a darkroom in the basement. It was a really nice darkroom and in high school I was winning competitions with those prints. It was a time I’ll never forget. Black and white film and the darkroom hold a special place in my heart.

    • It was a GREAT way to start and learn photography. I also spent time in the darkroom with my dad and later in high school … can still smell the chemicals. Oh … and the MAGIC of seeing a print actually develop before your eyes. Wonderful memories. 🙂

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