The other night I went to the first meeting of a 3 month workshop/course let by Benita Keller, a West Virginia photographer and teacher.

I was attracted to this workshop because of the emphasis on stretching my vision but will require me to go back into my memory to remember how to work with black and white film in the darkroom.

I have gotten so committed to digital that I had to buy a 35mm SLR so I could participate in the workshop. As it turned out, I found a good Nikon N90s on Ebay for $97 plus shipping!

The course covers the genres of landscape, events, portraiture and photojournalism and the goal will be for the participants to photograph people, places, and events in Jefferson County, WV for the next couple of months and then present the results of our work in an exhibit in October. The whole thing got me fascinated enough to buy the camera so I could participate.

The first meeting was mostly introductory, with several of the eight participants having little or no experience in a darkroom. So much of the discussion was an overview of darkroom procedures and a orientation to the community darkroom in Shepherdstown. Although I did a lot of black and white film processing and printing back in the 80s and early 90s, I found the review to be very useful to get my brain focused on the process. It’s been something like 17 or 18 years since I made a serious black and white print in a darkroom.

Anyway, tomorrow I will be going in for a hands-on introduction to the equipment and maybe try to make a print.

Meanwhile, I will be missing the next two meetings of this workshop because I will be leaving next week for the Maine Media Workshops where I will take a week-long workshop with fine art photographer and teacher Tillman Crane. I am really excited about this because I have wanted to take one of their workshops for many years.

The title of the workshop is “Extraordinary Images in Ordinary Places.” I was really attracted to this concept because I do not have many opportunities to travel to “extraordinary” places. I also really like Tillman’s work.

Hopefully, I will be able to post some impressions and stories about these experiences. Stay tuned …

~ by Rsmith on July 10, 2009.

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