Rocking the tray!

My journey with photography began as a child while spending wondrous hours with my father, a gifted portrait photographer, in his darkroom in the amber glow of the safe lights. It was astonishing to watch an image blossom to life in the developer, sometimes I even got to rock the tray! The magic of making a photograph had a life changing impact on me and when gifted a Brownie Hawkeye on my 7th birthday my destiny was etched in stone... I'd become a photographer!

Later I was privileged to have the opportunity to spend wondrous time with the great Jousuf Karsh in his Ottawa studio. This set the mold for my life adventure with photography.

glasses shot on HP5+ black and white film by Crombie MacNeill

Breaking tradition

Recently, I received a call from a well known Ottawa art gallery expressing their interest in representing me. To say the very least I was delighted and also a little surprised because this upscale gallery was known to represent only well established artists. I promptly dropped off my b&w book, as they had been clear about wanting only film images, and with my first love being with film this suited me to perfection! A week later the owner called with the great news I'd be welcome with open arms to join the galleries cadre of artists.

Subsequently chatting with the gallery curator she told me they were breaking with tradition in response to a growing market for fine art b&w prints. When I asked why not digital she explained the issue was the relative short life of inkjet prints vs. the proven archival characteristics of the silver print.

A growing niche

It's clear there's a growing niche of photographers who are seeking a more personal involvement in making a photograph rather than electronic image files. There is a special tactile intimacy with film and the processing in the subdued glow of the safe lights with the water gurgling in the print washer...gotta love it!

Hands - shot on HP5+ black and white film by Crombie MacNeill

An affinity for people

I'm blessed with an affinity for people, be it a fashion model, a prime minister, a prisoner, street person, athlete, wedding couple.

The camera has no soul or conscience, it's the photographer who empowers it.  Essentially, you're 'taking' a photograph or 'giving' them a compliment ... a world of difference!

To this day while embracing digital, my heart is truly at home with b&w film, which IMO has a unique depth not evident with digital images, besides, digital is way too easy.

All images shot on HP5 Plus, © Crombie McNeill