Where the Pets Go


I do need to go to Petco because the cat is in need of a new scratching board.  At least with this picture, no matter how old I get, I’ll always remember where it is – or at least where it once was.  I did have a bit of an epiphany when I was shooting this.  I was waiting for someone wearing a red jacket, and I was castigating myself – that the shot was just about the colors when it struck me: how many times have I enjoyed a black and white shot, simply because of the black and white tones.  If it was okay for black and white – why wasn’t it okay in color?  Of course I still think that if you can desaturate it and still have a “story” or a “subject” that works on it’s own where the color adds to the shot – then you do have something.  But it’s okay in the early phases to simply enjoy the colors.

But of course there ain’t no way to just get good at something without going through the dreaded learning process.  So I can stay in the comfortable world of b&w or continue my explorations so that I don’t need to answer the most asked question I get: why do you shoot in black and white?

Oh – and speaking of black and white photographs – this week – and this has never happened to me before, I actually received two pieces of mail, actual mail, not e-mail, with photographs that were printed from my site (i.e. web resolution) asking if I would be kind enough to sign the back and send it back to them (all teenagers).  And they had self addressed envelopes.   And I also got a letter with two photographs from a young person asking if I would critique the prints and answer some biographical questions.  Again – this was with snail mail.

Are you telling ;me that my signature has become worth something – or that it’s some sort of hoax.  I am so suspicious that I looked at the postmarks and they weren’t from New York which is where the tricksters mostly live.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

5 thoughts on “Where the Pets Go”

  1. Dave – great story about the kids. Yes your signature is worth something … you’ve arrived.

    Your studio apartment reminds me of the little known but brilliant photographer Josef Sudek’s studio. Here is a photo:

    I think this was taken by the artist himself.

    For those that don’t know Sudek … Google him. True genius.

  2. You’re not investing in color film, you shoot raw and always have the option for whatever works best. Therefore you can just look for interesting things and not complicate your thought process with which film you’ve happened to put in your camera. A yellow raincoat may have been better anyway, but even better would have been, better…I know that comes off as a Yogi-ism but what the heck. If I ever shoot raw, I think it will be very liberating, because I could stop thinking one way or the other, which might be the one attribute of digital that I can’t deny…

  3. I’m 90% black and white and 10% color. I cannot find the depth and mystery in color as I can in black and white. Toning with subtle color is another matter however and I find some B & W photos benefit from just the slightest hint of color.

    I shoot color when the photo screams for its use and B & W wouldn’t do it justice. With that said, even my best color is “pretty”. I just cant see how it can go deeper … at least for me, at this point in time.

    To me B & W is like an xray. It is the bones of the image, pun intended. Its about the deeper supporting structure of the composition – both visible and invisible. Color to me is about surfaces – what’s on the outside, the obvious.

    I’m reminded of technical details of a composite color video image and how it’s made up of luminance – really the black and white portion of it, the form, the outline of what’s being displayed. Then the chrominance signal which is the of course the color component and would be nothing, have no form without the underlying luminance signal in place.

    Human vision is more sensitive to luminance or the brightness of an image rather than color itself. I know this may feel counterintuitive but its true. That could be one reason why B&W images contain such powerful sway.

  4. Must be a scam… Teenagers using snail mail? They wouldn’t know where to begin would they?

    I can picture them looking at their parents with a concerned frown as they hold the envelope at arms length like so much toxic waste.

  5. Ty
    Obviously I’m in the same camp But every few years I take a crack at color. Not a bad thing since I often learn techniques that i end up appling to b&w.

    I suppose that what pisses me off is that I love paintings and don’t see why given the controls we mow have I can’t work in color.

    In other words – I stayed away from color in the past because I couldn’t really get it to do what I wanted – at least not compared to b&w.

    I think that issue is not as annoying as it once was.

    We’ll see. This latest color effort may turn out to be another dead end or it may be the start of something new. Who knows.


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