The first photos I ever took, with the intention of doing photography for its own sake, were on Kodak color film (of a type I can no longer recall) with my grandpa’s old Miranda TM SLR. I think some bare trees and terrible midday light may have been involved.
You will never see those photos.
The first “real” photos I took, with even a bit of photo knowledge in my head, were on T-Max 400 black and white film for The Aquin and The Aquinas yearbook. For the next three years black and white was all I shot as I learned how not to make a complete fool of myself with a camera (thanks MO’D).
All of which is to say that black and white holds a special place in my heart. It’s how I first learned to “see” through a camera, and even though the demands of modern marketing and publishing at St. Thomas require color most of the time, it still feels good to slip back into those old eyes. In fact, in some situations it’s still the only thing that makes sense to me – like the photo (18) of English professor Matthew Batt for the upcoming issue of St. Thomas magazine, or the photo of sisters Blaire and Ava Pospesel (4), who let us publish the admissions essays they wrote about the death of their mother. Black and white strips away all the decoration and distraction, and lets us concentrate on the forms and expressions of the people telling us their stories.
Of course I’m not shooting T-Max anymore (that stopped my senior year at UST with the purchase of my first digital SLR), but the digital cameras we’re using today allow me to create black and whites that I like even more than those produced on that Kodak film. It’s as simple as removing the color from the file the camera creates – and as complicated as interpreting that (usually) flat and lifeless image into the style of black and white you envisioned when you tripped the shutter.
These photos, I’ll let you see.
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The cross atop St. Mary’s Chapel Feb. 2, 2012. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Sgt. Donald Selenski (US Army, retired) hugs new Second Lieutenant Kylie Bennett after Bennett received her first salute from Selenski during the Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony May 22, 2010. During the ceremony, cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Air Force. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
The O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library on a foggy morning. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Freshmen (in 2010) Blaire (left) and Ava Pospesel. The twin sisters were in a car crash that took the life of their mother and seriously injured Ava. The two wrote about the experience for their St. Thomas admissions application essay. Click on the photo to read their story. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
The hands of philosophy professor Thomas Sullivan are shown as he delivers a lecture during a class at the Angelicum in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Fr. Paul Murray. Murray, among other duties, was confessor to Mother Theresa. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
From left: Agapitos Papagapitos, Tom Shepard, Bob Herbers, Chato Hazelbaker, and Drew Sosinski play basketball as part of the NBA, or Noontime Basketball Association Oct. 29, 2010 in McCarthy Gym. The NBA is a group of faculty, staff and students who get together to play basketball over the noon hour. Click the image to read their story. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Winner of the 2011 Monsignor James Lavin Award, James “Doc” McEnaney ’52 sits for an interview in his Owatonna apartment. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Opus College of Business professors Dave Brennan (left) and Lorman Lundsten at the Mall of America. The two were photographed for a B. Magazine article about their annual study predicting holiday spending. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Target headquarters in downtown Minneapolis. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Ireland Hall. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
A stairwell in Ireland Hall. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
The intersection at Summit and Grand Avenues takes on a different look in a foggy black and white. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
English Professor Leslie Miller in 2008. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Winner of the 2012 Monsignor James Lavin Award, Tom Cronin ’64 in his Arden Hills home March 23, 2012. Cronin passed away on July 25, 2012.(Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
The Anderson Student Center is seen past the tower of Murray-Herrick Campus Center. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Workers build the skeleton of a new scoreboard for O’Shaughnessy Stadium Aug. 10, 2012. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
English Professor Matthew Batt recently released a book called “Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into Our Home Sweet Home,” an excerpt of which will appear in the upcoming issue of St. Thomas magazine. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)
Archbishop John Nienstedt leaves the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas following a funeral mass for Monsignor James Lavin Sept. 21, 2012. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)