hasselblad friday: roll #10, or my first black and white film since the 90's


Early this week, on this post, Knighton left the following comment:

In my first drawing course in college, my professor described herself as a purist.  She only permitted us to use charcoals and white chalk.  "Because if you can't see where the light and shadow dwell, you cannot possibly use color well."  It was good advice for both art and life.

Yes, I agreed, nodding at my computer screen.  And I started reminiscing when I first got my camera back in 1994, and my photographer friend Josef refused to let me shoot colour film for exactly the same reason.  And then I thought ...

... oh my God, I have half a roll of black & white film sitting in the Hassie waiting to be finished that I've totally forgotten about.  

Some time back, I decided to buy one roll of Ilford Delta 400 Pro black and white film, just to experiment with the Hassie.  As is probably very obvious, I am generally a fan of colour photography, and really hadn't shot (or even processed) images in black and white since Josef finally eased up on me.  Anyway, this roll had been sitting in my fridge, and every week I would look guiltily at it while I pulled out another roll of my beloved Fujicolor film, until finally, it was the only film left.  Reluctantly, I loaded it into the camera, took it with me to Catalina Coffee, shot a few frames, and promptly forgot about it.   Reading Knighton's comment this week, however, spurred me into action, and I rapidly shot the rest of the roll around my house.  I mean, it was just an experiment, you know?  What was I waiting for?

So here are some of my favourite shots:


Another shot taken at Catalina Coffee (the first was of Marc the Barista, top image).  I'm happy with the depth of field and where I got the sharp focus on this one.  For once.


My hanging star in my office.  It was lit at the time, which is why the whites are so sharp.  I am happy.


My Buddhas and vintage cameras and lenses.  I think this is my favourite shot from this roll of film.  Again, the blacks are jet black and the whites are pure white and all the other greys are right where the need to be.  (I will tell you that I had to straighten in Photoshop so that the vertical lines were vertical, however.  One of these days I'll actually take the perfect shot with this camera. Apparently "one of these days" is still a little ways away.)


Some of the plush toys on Alex's bed.  I share this with you not so that you will notice the toys, but that the bed is made.  

This is not a common occurrence in our house.


Another of the plush toys on Alex's bed.   

Oh, wait, no, I'm sorry, that's Rufus.  Easy mistake, though:  this image captures pretty much all the activity Rufus is capable of exhibiting during my work day when Alex is at school.  Marcus doesn't call him "Dishrag" for nothing.

Dog just lies there.  (He does perk up when he's outside, though. Then he barks his fool head off.)

(Also, please note that Rufus barely has the energy to train his focus on me while I'm taking his photograph, he's so used to my face with a camera in front of it.  For the record, Marcus and Alex respond almost exactly to same way when I'm taking their photographs.  I try not to take it personally.)


A bowl of fruit on our kitchen table. Sometimes I think that bowl of fruit has more of a pulse than Rufus does.

So now that I've got the roll back, I have to admit that I'm really happy with the feel of the images; so much so, that I might just shoot some more.  It appears that my hiatus from shooting with the Hassie has dulled my ability to focus in some respects (see Rufus and the fruit, above), but I'm loving how velvety black the blacks look, and how sharply white the whites look, so I think I may buy some more of that Ilford film.  My heart still belongs to Fuji, you understand, but a quick dalliance with black-and-white every now and then?  Well, that might be just the thing I need to keep film photography fresh.

And with that, have a great weekend, everyone.  See you Monday.

(By the way:  as I was writing this post, the UPS woman just delivered my latest batch of Fujicolor film.  Here's to more frequent Hasselblad Fridays soon.)

Song:  Fires, by David Ramirez.  The following music video was filmed at -- you guessed it -- Catalina Coffee.