Black and White photography is where it all started. Interestingly enough, it is still the heart and soul of photography for many. I find it interesting that many people cannot name any contemporary photographer, yet many know the name and work of Ansel Adams, the famous landscape photographer from the mid 1900s.
To really appreciate these early pioneers of black and white nature photography, you must understand their tremendous love of both their subject matter and their dedication to their art. These men and women hauled large, cumbersome equipment into primitive areas in the 1920s, to take their photographs. They then created these legendary prints truly by hand mastering applied physics and chemistry. W. Eugene Smith once detailed his taking four days and nights to create the photograph Schweitzer at his Desk. Today these traditions continue in the work of those film photographers with the commitment, talent and skill needed to produce their prints.
The end products of a digital photographer, with computer, giclee printers and modern papers may well be able to match composition, tones and effects of the film photographer. But we can never replicate their commitment to their art. What a digital photographer can do in minutes, takes hours, and years of experience and developed skills. I know I’m being repetitive, and rambling a bit, but I’m truly in awe of their work.