And For Cameras, Which Capture Those Hues
I honestly don’t remember the first time I saw a colour photograph, but I was probably very little, maybe about five years old. Most of the photographs in our family albums were black-and-white images, back in the days when 35mm cameras were a luxury item.
School photos were black and white. Formal portraits were black-and-white. Wedding photographs were black and white. Life was in vivid colour, but black-and-white photography was - and still is - the ultimate form of pictorial art.
But my father also used colour film and what I do remember is that it could sometimes take months to finish a single roll of colour film. Then the camera would be taken, almost like a religious icon, to one of the city’s leading photo studios. There, someone would take the camera into a darkroom, wind off the film and return the camera to Dad.
Then the film would be put in a special bag and despatched 2000 kilometres away to Bombay (now Mumbai) where it would be processed and returned to us in a special envelope, with the prints in one packet and the negatives in another.
What I do recall with clarity is that after handing in the film, it was more than a month before we would actually see the prints.
Another thing I remember clearly from my childhood is that strips of colour negatives had that unique burgundy colour, whereas black-and-white negatives were glossy black. And another vivid memory from those years is my absolute amazement that if a particular area on a colour negative was green, the colour on the print would be red.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would one day travel to some of the world’s most beautiful places, capturing each aspect they offer, in real-life colour, thanks to the magical technology of digital cameras.
It is our duty to recognise, with humility, the R&D that goes into the equipment that we use. But most of all, we need to recognise - also with humility - that a power greater than anything Mankind could possibly harness, created the beauty around us that we seek to capture.
For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.