Laurent Baig – The Wild Light

March 13, 2009

Seeing in black and white

Organ Pipe Cactus, Arizona

Organ Pipe Cactus, Arizona

I’ve photographed in color for pretty much most of my photographic non-career.  I’m mostly self taught by reading John Shaw & Jack Dykinga books. I took a large format workshop with Michael Gordon and Guy Tal to solidify some LF techniques. But I never went through the black and white process most people learn in school.  I feel I missed something.  Sure, I can make this digital image in color and convert to black and white, but there’s a sort of (let’s call it) journeyman process I never went through.  I’m not arguing film vs digital here – I’m simply talking about a sort of step of learning that got bypassed by me. So what do I do about it? Try shooting in black and white.  It’s been tugging at me for some time, so I exposed a sheet of black and white film on this scene.  At some point I’ll try developing it…ooh, chemicals, scary! Can’t hurt to try.

You are reading a blog posting from the photographer Laurent Baig. Feel the wilderness experience.



  1. Come over to the dark side Laurent…the force is stronger here.

    Seriously, I learned black and white chemistry in my youth (pre-digital) and never loved it. I was drawn in by digital and the digital darkroom but then found I was missing something.
    I’m now shooting analog, developing my own black and white from 35mm to 4×5 and then scanning to digital for the rest of the process.
    It’s just right for me.

    Comment by Steve M — March 13, 2009 @ 7:02 am

  2. Thanks, Steve. I have to admit, i’ll probably never give up color, but the thought of playing with B+W is really exciting.

    Comment by Laurent — March 13, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  3. The one reason I’d want to shoot black and white film is the much better latitude than color. I’ve done a lot of black and white film processing and printing in my day and I really enjoyed it. However I’m more interested in results and digital printing is so much easier than chemical and the ability to replicate results so easy, I have no desire to go back into a dark room.

    Comment by danbaumbach — March 14, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

  4. Hey Laurent: I encourage you to check out your local community college to see what they offer for b/w darkroom. You don’t need the ‘making photographs’ aspect of such a class, but the darkroom work (and fun) is invaluable.

    Some people hate the smell and idea of working with chemistry; others find it an integral part of their creative process 😉

    Comment by Michael Gordon — May 7, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

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