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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Black, white, and shades of gray

  •   One day in college I visited a friend who was sitting in his living room flipping between channels on his TV. On one channel an old war movie came on in the middle of a battle scene of some sort, with tanks splashing through mud and soldier marching around. Since I like ...
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      One day in college I visited a friend who was sitting in his living room flipping between channels on his TV. On one channel an old war movie came on in the middle of a battle scene of some sort, with tanks splashing through mud and soldier marching around. Since I like a good war movie, I leaned forward to see what the story was about. “Ewww, it’s black and white. Change the channel,” my roommate’s friend said. AND?MY?FRIEND?DID. I was appalled by them — genuinely appalled, not just newspaper column hyperbole appalled. “‘Ewww, it’s black and white, change the channel?’”  Are there a lot of people who think that way? Holy cats. Many of the best movies ever made are in black and white. Are people depriving themselves of great movies just because there’s no color? (That’s a rhetorical question. Of course there are.) The whole “movie colorization” fiasco is the result of that.  On a good day, I can grit my teeth and say, “Well, okay. If that’s the only way some idiots individuals will watch black and white movies, I guess I can put up with it. But make the original available for those of us who want it.” Black and white photography is an art all its own, but now it’s seen by many as either obsolete — replaced by something “better” — or just reserved for an artsy-fartsy few. When Kodak stopped manufacturing black and white photo paper a couple years ago, I found myself sad in a way that surprised me. Recently I tried an experiment. I set up my digital camera for “monochrome” (which you’re never ever supposed to do, according to the techno-geek purists) and spent a few days shooting black and white photos around town, like I did when I first got interested in photography in high school. The result: it’s a whole different way of seeing. Try it. . . . . . It’s Daylight Savings Time! You’re reading this column an hour earlier than you otherwise would! Aaaaahhh! . . . . . Last week’s weather was great except for one weekday. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday — all of them had bright sunshine and melting snow. The exception, Wednesday, was dreary, with freezing rain and overcast. I’m sorry. It was all my fault. I had to drive up to the Twin Cities on Wednesday, so the weather gods made bad driving weather just for my personal inconvenience.  I apologize.
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