Will you look at our Dorothy.
"Erie photographer has passion for capturing images on film
By VICTOR FERNANDES, Erie Times-News
Today's digital photography is quick and easy, but Dorothy Kloss wanted more than that when she picked up a camera four decades ago.
She was old-school at heart, even in high school. And when an Intro to Darkroom Techniques class at the Erie Art Museum a decade ago turned a love for traditional film photography into her passion, the Erie native knew the digital age never would hold a place in her heart.
"It's the whole relationship, and it's also the science," Kloss, 56, said of working with film. "It's like watching something blossom. I don't think you can get the same feeling with digital. The camera does all the work. (With film), you have all the control."
The fascination starts with a camera in her hands. Kloss said photographers visualize photos before taking them, and then start to make those photos happen through various cameras, lenses and films. "Every camera has a different look. Every lens has a different look. All the different films have a different look," she said. "So every time ... you know exactly what you're looking for."
Photographers make those photos come to life through the development process. Kloss has grown especially intrigued with those important hands-on steps. She pointed to "the relationship you have with putting your hands physically into the chemicals, touching the paper and touching the materials ... and seeing the results," Kloss said. "I fell in love and became passionate about black-and-white photography and using chemicals and watching a print evolve out of a plain piece of paper. It's like watching something blossom."
She doesn't have that same connection with digital photography. Kloss tried less than a year ago, when she purchased a digital camera to document people's artwork to enter into shows. "It's quick and easy," she said. "But I never got the passion that you get with film."
Kloss figures she's the last local photographer to work exclusively with film. She has a darkroom at home, but Kloss would be happy to develop photos like photographers did many years ago -- with watercolor paper, dry chemicals and natural sunlight.
She told the story of her father, Bill, who used old-style press cameras to photograph generals and other high-ranking officials in the Philippines while serving in the Army during World War II, and later to take photos of football games at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Syracuse University. She later inherited nearly all of her father's camera and darkroom equipment.
In 2006, she attended a workshop in Toronto, where Kloss learned about photography from the Civil War era. "It's just out of this world," she said. "I was just on cloud nine for a month after I came home because I'd never seen anything like that."
Kloss understands some people might consider her passion to be strange. But it makes perfect sense to her.
"I know it's crazy," she said, "but it's as if you're bonding with your camera. I don't have that relationship with a digital camera."
VICTOR FERNANDES can be reached at 870-1716 or by e-mail."
See the article and a great picture of Dorothy