Black & White Photography

What is the role of traditional photography in our current digital landscape?  What is the benefit of printing in the wet darkroom instead of using a digital output?  Students may wonder why is it important to learn a century-old practice.   Throughout this course we debated these questions as the students created portfolio worthy black and white photographs.  Some might argue that black and white photography is ‘dead’ or that it relies on nostalgia as an art form.  Each student explored how black and white photography operates within the history of photography and the role it plays in contemporary practices.  During the semester students expanded their technical skills and vocabulary as well as work towards mastering wet darkroom printing techniques.  We explored using different photographic papers, films, contrast control, the zone system, and toning.  We also used digital techniques, to scan negatives and create digital black and white prints.  Students had the option to work with 35mm and/or medium format cameras and films.