Cassie – a case study
Cassie is a young professional living in Weybridge, Surrey. Her work takes her to the far east as a Civil Engineer. For the short periods of time when she is at home she lives with her parents. At school she had access to the school darkroom where she eagerly soaked up all the information on printing she could find. She readily says her prints weren’t great at that time but they gave her the satisfaction of learning the art and craft of darkroom printing.
“There is something magical in seeing the print emerge from the paper as the developer tray is gently rocked in the dim glow of the red darkroom safe light” she says.
Due to pressures of study Cassie lost contact with black and white photography for a few years. Now that she is established in a stable but hectic job she occasionally has the opportunity to take digital pictures that she displays in frames around her office. There was always a nagging doubt that the digital prints coming out of her A3 printer did not have the same depth as the prints she had made before in the darkroom. Cassie knew that the paper and ink technology is capable of great prints. She sees the stunning work others are producing but that satisfaction was eluding her.
A change of direction
After a time Cassie decided to take two courses of action. Firstly, to upgrade her digital printing skills with the aim of making digital prints with the quality of the darkroom process. Secondly, if that was not possible, to return to film photography. After a bit of hunting around on the internet Cassie found Andy Beel who runs digital black and white printing masterclasses. She could see from his website that he specialises in working with small groups to inspire and promote expressive printing. The pictures in his gallery were a testament to his ability as an exceptional photographer and printer. His established blog and newsletter showed a wide range of clients, all working towards becoming better photographers.
After an interchange of emails Cassie enthusiastically booked herself onto the Mono Masterclass in Snowdonia. After the booking was made Andy sent her a copy of the textbook for the masterclass – The Dark Art – A Digital Black and White Printing Manual by Andy Beel. Cassie studied these manuals the best she could between work and a social life. When the Masterclass came around later in the year, Cassie was excited to meet the other participants and found they all had roughly the same desire to make their best efforts with digital mono printing even better.
The masterclass gave Cassie the confidence to use Lightroom and Photoshop as tools that she had control over to bring about what she saw and felt at the time of taking the picture. The masterclass was a steep learning curve that was made easier and more enjoyable because she had the opportunity to read the textbook before the event. The days of muddy black and white prints are over. Cassie now has the passion, vision and style to make prints that express her personality on a piece of photo printing paper.
London Independent Photography
Cassie joined London Independent Photography http://www.londonphotography.org.uk/ where her work is well accepted. She may get an occasional award in their annual exhibition when she has the time and energy to make the prints and enter.
Thanks to study and persistence her best were made even better when given the opportunity to learn, grow and express herself.