Australia: Snow gum, Snowy Mountains, NSW

I still recall the excitement as, at the age of fourteen, I peered into the dish of developer in which the small piece of photographic paper was immersed. I had commandeered my family’s bathroom for the big event after I had attended a series of lectures promoted by the Royal Photographic Society in London during the winter school holidays and been captivated by what I had learned. The thrill, as in the red glow of the safelight an image started to appear, was indescribable. That tiny contact print was the start of many years in darkrooms churning out thousands of black and white prints.

When, many years after my first print, I came across a book, Cash from Your Camera by Louis Peek, one of the respected and prolific freelances of the day, I pounced upon it and began sending out black and white prints to magazines and as these prints began to be published and paid for, I realised I had found my niche in this photography business.

Then, after I had moved to Australia, my sister gave me a print from the Royal Photographic Society collection and I took the plunge and joined that organisation and eventually decided to test my photography by applying for one of its distinctions. My panel of black and white prints was approved by the Licentiateship judges and so I became a Licentiate and could add the initials LRPS after my name.

Then I started sending black and white prints to the various exhibitions held around Australia under the auspices of the Australian Photographic Society and collected a number of Highly Commended certificates and, in a very proud moment for me, a First Prize.

I went on to found the Black and White Enthusiast in Australia to represent the UK publisher Creative Monochrome and ended up publishing books of black and white pictures and the magazine, The Black and White Enthusiast which was sold and became eventually Silvershotz under its new owner.

So, is it any wonder that in this digital age I still love black and white images? My darkroom has gone but most of what I do in processing my digital images, whether in colour or black and white, is what I would have done when I was sloshing around in dishes filled with chemicals. And, yes, I do shoot in colour. It is something of a paradox that the best black and whites in the digital age seem to be achieved by shooting in colour and converting to black and white. I shoot in RAW to ensure that my camera saves all the information beamed on to the sensor and does not make decisions about what should be saved and what discarded. Those decisions are mine and mine alone.

This book is intended to show the beauty of black and white photography and how you can go about achieving similar results. I hope it may turn you from somebody interested in the black and white genre to a real Black and White Enthusiast.

The above is from the Introduction to my latest e-book, The Black and White Enthusiast. To see details about this e-book and the other photography e-books I have published, click here

They are available for most tablet readers and as PDFs.

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