The world was black and white before colour photographs. . .

… or so some may have thought at one time.  So how does someone who has grown up in technicolor and who stops in their tracks for bright bold color . . .

a splash of color on a rainy day
a splash of color on a rainy day

learn to see in Black & White?

I love B&W photography and there are photographers whose B&W images will stop me just as hard,  both from the past when that was the only option to the present and B&W photography like that by Cole Thompson.  A powerful or even serene black and white image does not need color to draw you in or set the mood.  This is all accomplished using shapes & elements, contrast, composition and, of course, light.   But even though I know of these key points, seeing them, for me, in B&W can be a challenge.

So I’ve recently gone back to the proverbial drawing board… again.  Rewind about five years ago, I took a B&W film photography course (wow, that was five years ago already!) and even then, according to my post at that time, I struggled a bit.  So, I guess it’s not surprising that I quickly gravitate back to all things color.   However, like Jenny here,

one of my first film subjects
one of my first film subjects

who has hung in there, now at 14, so have I…  and every now and then I give it another go… exploring my world in B&W.  white-rose-b&wLearning is in doing…

Til next time,
Maria

 

The Gift

I’m still here!   Spring has certainly sprung. I know I’m not the only one that has fallen behind on their blog posts…I’ve ready plenty of blog posts saying as much.  Oh, I’ve been plenty busy taking photos; I’ve loaded and unloaded my card(s) at least three times!  But 52×52 and Texture Tuesday posts are going to have to wait just a little bit longer because I want to share my latest photographic journey with you.  No, I didn’t travel to some far off land.  This is of a much more personal journey.

DSC_9909As a photographer, I have always shied away from photographing people.  It’s always been a bit uncomfortable for me.  I think capturing the human spirit is one of the most difficult challenges for any photographer; one that I never really felt I was up to the challenge of.  It’s an art all its own to engage people, converse with them, and reveal the real them . . . and to be ready to click the shutter.

This past weekend, I sent a fellow photographer a text that said … “I need to bow out on Saturday (shooting an event).  I don’t have any one good excuse…”  I sent that on Thursday.  Oddly enough, this was the third year for shooting this particular event.  Many of the people I have met before, many wonderful warm & friendly women (and men), all usually more than willing to show off for the camera.  But in  a moment of insecurity, I was going to pass this year.  No sooner did I send that text than did my friend and fellow event photographer, Ann, call me.  She completely understood my insecurity, but she wasn’t going to let me off quite so easy.  She told me I had a gift.  Me, a gift?  I never saw it that way…still not sure I do.  But our conversation was enough to restore just enough confidence.  Oh, and she told me I could just photograph the chocolate and the venue … if that’s what I wanted.

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An absolutely beautiful spring evening, the venue was the historic mansion set on the BCCC campus in Newtown, PA.  The trees were all show in their spring blossoms.  The backdrop of the woods was just starting to show some green.  The guests were arriving, women adorned in beautiful Derby hats that looked like a lot like the spring flowers in full bloom in the gardens.  I remember thinking to myself, I am so glad Ann called me.  Any inhibitions I had had completely evaporated.  Maybe it was all those hats… If people were willing to get into the spirit for a good cause, than so was I!

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As I did the previous two years of shooting this event, I met many wonderful people.  This year in particular, I met a wonderful group of women, the Thursday Night Ladies, as they like to call themselves, a women’s writing group.  They whooped it up for my camera and they welcomed me to their table to catch a bite to eat.   They each also so bravely stood in front of 200 guests & volunteers and gave an excerpt from their writings and reminded us all why we were really there that evening.  You see, this event was the annual Chocolate Lover’s fundraiser held by a Woman’s Place, an organization that comes to the aid and provides support in an unwavering quest against domestic violence {Admittedly, a point I now realize I overlooked momentarily the Thursday before}.    My contribution, a simple one, to volunteer my time and to photograph the event free of charge (unless you count payment in chocolate), which was nothing in comparison to this group of women who shared their feelings… their experiences.

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So why am I telling you all this.  Because if it weren’t for one woman telling me I had a gift, I would have not been in the one place, where I now know I was supposed to be more than to just photograph an event but to preserve the joyous moments, shared laughter, hugs and tears, and the contagious beaming smile of another woman, Toshi, and to capture . . . her spirit.

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I didn’t know it then, but these would be Toshi’s last moments.  Shortly after I left, Toshi fell critically ill and was rushed to the hospital.  She was not expected to regain consciousness.  This morning I learned that Toshi was gone.

Ann called me this morning.  Even in her sadness and time of grief, she wanted to thank me . . . for being there… for her… and her friend, Toshi.   She told me I was meant to be there and that I had given her and the Thursday Night Ladies a wonderful gift to remember their friend by.  Friendship is such a powerful gift. {Thank You, Ann}

…til next time
Maria

Mamma always said, life is like a box of Chocolates . . .

. . . you never know what you’re gonna get.  Don’t you just love Forrest . . . Forrest Gump ;-).  Last Saturday I had the opportunity to shoot the Chocolate Lovers Fantasy fund-raiser held by A Woman’s Place.  My friend, Ann, who invited me to shoot this event with her, described the event to me beforehand . . . but, oh my, you just can’t imagine the wonderful aroma of all that chocolate.

A Woman’s Place is a nonprofit organization and a team of very dedicated people who offer assistance to victims of domestic abuse  http://www.awomansplace.org/index.htm.  This event was held in the very majestic Tyler Hall located on the Bucks County Community College Campus, had the support of many local companies & individuals who donated time, services, and items to be auctioned, and could not have been the success that it was without  the meticulously organized team of organizers and volunteers that make up A Woman’s Place.  I am just so glad I got to be a part of it.

Ton see the rest of the photos from the AWP Chocolate Lovers Fantasy benefit, just click on the image or visit http://mariadreyer.zenfolio.com/p57535342#hf3db2cc