Before Christmas I was simply out shooting with my digital point and shoot. I thought that what I was shooting was fairly cool at the time. At that time my father was getting more and more into b&w work and I felt it was somewhat boring or antiquated. "Who wants b&w when we can have color? This is the 21st century is it not?"
Then Christmas came and my father gave me a 35mm SLR and four rolls of black and white film. He also paid for me to take a introductory b&w course with a woman who lives in the same live/work building as him. We had some basic lessons on the mechanics of the camera and how to shoot then we spent the day shooting. During that day, the instructor, who I had given my website addy to so she could see my work to that point, made a simple comment that changed my whole way of shooting. She said that up to that point, I was shooting strictly in a documentary sense. I wasn't adding anything of myself into the images. That little bit of advice burrowed it's way into my head and took root. I got up early the next day, went out and shot another roll of film with that mindset in full force and then we spent the day developing and printing. It was like night and day really. I could see a very marked improvement in my shooting already.
So now, I have gone from shooting digital color, documentary shots to strictly shooting b&w film, with a far stronger personal presense to them. I know how to develop my own film and do my own printing and toning. All this in only the last 3-4 months. I'm also loving b&w with a passion now. It really suits my prefered imagery (urban/industrial) so much moreso than color in my opinion. I look at my old shots and truthfully, there's only a few that I actually like now. Most just don't do anything for me now.
It's funny to look back now. I almost feel like it was another lifetime ago, like I'm a completely different person now. I just can't wait to see what the next 4 months will bring about.