I had a one-on-one black and white printing lesson at Toronto Image Works with photographer Stephen Brookbank yesterday. Since the TIW uses paper processors I didn't get to play with chemical. Instead I learned how to operate the machine, how to adjust contrast and focus, and how ot analyze a photo and selectively adjust contrast, brightness, and color composition to make an image look better. Stephen was very patient with me and all my questions and he recommended me some books and photographers that I should read about. It's a fascinating experience especially since I have so much interest yet so little knowledge when it comes to film photography and I rarely print any photos in prints larger than 4x6. I learned that when you work on a photo in a darkroom and take your time to try different exposure time or play with dodging and burning, you see a photograph differently. Especially in these days when everyone take thousands of photos with the digital cameras and post them all on facebook, photography loses its purpose as a mean for story telling and the thought processes the came before a shutter is press is almost nonexistence.
Every time I held a print in front of me it felt as if it was the first time I actually looked at the photo. Instead of a flat photo, I began to notice depth, lighting, emotion. I became more proud of each photo that I selected to print, even though they were just 2 out of an entire roll of 36 films.
Now I just want to pick up my camera do some shots.