Jack loved his darkroom. The smell of the chemicals, the isolation, anticipation, and especially that magical moment when the picture formed on the photographic paper and he saw in black and white the image he had captured out in the field. Landscapes were his specialty, but portraits too intrigued him. He had an ability to capture the unguarded expression when the subject was unaware of being photographed.
As the children were born and grew he spent many hours watching, waiting, and then capturing that special moment. In his darkroom he could play with the light and shade, deepen the shadows, highlight the eyes or that glow on the horizon to achieve the effect he desired.
“How many more?” his wife Sarah would ask. Jack would just laugh as he prepared to hang another picture on the wall.
When colour film arrived Jack had to send his films to the photo laboratory to be processed. The color chemicals were expensive, and the process much more complicated. Sarah made albums of the color prints, a detailed record of family fun through the years.
“The color brings it alive,” she told Jack. “God made the world in glorious color. You should show it how He made it.”
“Aha,” he said, “but there’s nothing like black and white.” He took the roll of negatives to his darkroom.
The years passed and soon he was photographing the grandchildren, recording their milestones, working in his darkroom to extract the most subtle shades of contrast to highlight their best features. The walls of the house were adorned with the latest creations, smiling faces and pensive expressions watching them live their daily life.
It seemed no time at all until the digital world arrived. Jack was aware, but having none of it.
“You’ll not catch me taking digital,” he growled, retreating to his darkroom. Before long, however there were only four of them in their camera club without digital cameras, and one day to Sarah’s surprise, Jack had news for her when he came home.
“My new camera,” he said, sheepishly showing her his new acquisition.
His days were spent with more experienced mates as he learnt the features of his new camera. His computer, not used much to date, was now in demand. He learned to use the photo altering program, Photoshop, and was amazed at the results. Glorious, riotous color sprang at him and could be changed and deepened. Skies could be made bluer, flowers flaunted their brilliant hues, landscapes glowed with golden light and on his portraits he could make the flesh tones so soft, so fresh and gentle, he was speechless.
“It’s a colorful world,” he told Sarah, and she smiled in delight.
“It sure is,” she agreed, “and it’s good to appreciate all the colors God gave us.”
“I do, I do,” he responded. “I love the color, but you know, the computer also does a great job of black and white!”
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