New black and white photographs taken by Central Oregon Community College students are on display at the Franklin Building in downtown Bend. But the photographs tell stories that aren't typically associated with the high desert setting and the photography scene around Bend. The photos were shot with film cameras, developed in a darkroom, and hand printed on silver gelatin paper.
Paula Bullwinkel, an instructor at COCC, hand curated the show and carefully selected the photographs for the display.
"It's a very fresh, different perspective," she says. It's not the "beaten-to-death shot of the river or mountain. These are really provocative pictures done by artists."
Bullwinkel has spent the last four years teaching film photography at COCC—as well as teaching drawing and basic design in high schools—but she got her start as a professional photographer in New York City. She had the opportunity to photograph actor Mark Ruffalo and musician Lenny Kravitz when they were virtually unknown.
She says she enjoys teaching something that people don't even know still exists, and notes that black and white prints are moving in the direction of the fine art category.
"It has a whole different quality; it's richer and better, and because you're hand printing it in a darkroom, you have more control," she says. "While you can manipulate [images] in Photoshop, I find hand made [prints] richer."
The images capture moments in everyday life. Images of ice, an exotic dancer, a man and his pet bird, antique cameras, and atypical outdoor scenes warrant multiple gazes as the hand-printed silvers, grays, and blacks bring the images to life from various angles. Students also colored some of the photographs—which are also matted, framed, and are for sale.
"People relate to photos because they think there's some reality there; it's not just one viewpoint," Bullwinkel says.
Visual Culture: Black and White Film Photography
Friday, Nov. 6-Nov. 29.
Franklin Building, 550 NW Franklin Ave.