Archive for the ‘Photography: Black and White gallery’ Category


Princeton University Art Museum. 2013. by Paul Goldfinger ©

Princeton University Art Museum. 2013. by Paul Goldfinger © Click to enlarge.



“Mahini  (Enchantment”)   by Yo-Yo Ma with the Silk Road Ensemble from the album  The Essential Yo-Yo Ma:



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Founders' Park, Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

Founders’ Park, Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photograph. © 2017



PEGGY LEE:    “September in the Rain”   from the album  Ladies of the Great American Songbook.



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Tuscany. c. 1996. By Paul Goldfinger. © Click left for larger view

Cinque Terre, Italy.   c. 1996. By Paul Goldfinger. © Click left for larger view. Re-posted from 2013.


HOT CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO. “Souvenir de Villingen” from the album Yerba Buena Bounce  (composed by Stephane Grappelli)

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Northport, Maine. By Paul Goldfinger. ©

Northport, Maine. By Paul Goldfinger. ©  Click to make our family bigger.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

The year was 1996, and I was attending a summer course at the Maine Photo Workshops.  It was called “Finding Your Visual Voice”  It was taught by a professor from the Savannah School of the Arts.   One day we went on a field trip to a pretty town on the Penobscot Bay called Northport.  It was such a peaceful place, and the quaint summer cottages were placed around a large center grassy area.

I was told that the town had a religious background, and every August people came for a camp meeting.  At the time I was only mildly impressed by that history, but later I learned that the town was settled in the 18th century, and somewhere along the way the Methodist Camp Meeting idea was adopted, and most visitors since the first camp meeting in 1849, still go there in August for religious reasons, although the web site says that the town was now becoming a “watering hole.”

Anyhow, it seemed like an All-American picture-perfect place.  While I was looking around for some photographic subjects a family, straight out of Norman Rockwell, came down the path towards me.  Great…this will be a terrific portrait of Americana.  My camera was set on a tripod ready to go, so I asked them if I could take their picture.

They cheerfully agreed, and as I looked at them through the viewfinder, I saw a loving, happy family, and I thought, “I’d like to be a member of that family, even for just a moment.” So I told them what I had in mind, and they loved the idea and welcomed me into the family for this shot.   There was only one exposure and then they went on their way.

Whenever I look at this image I think, “I’m so lucky to be adopted by this perfect family, even for only 1/250th of a second.”


ETTA JONES and HOUSTON PERSON:  “…through it all we all will be together, if the fates allow….”   The album: Together at Christmas, 2000.

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Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Wyeth’s studio.  Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Andrew Wyeth, famous painter, was a movie buff and he had souvenirs around his studio, given to him by some of his actor friends. There was a sword from the swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.   The skeleton was real, but I don’t know if he had it there for fun or for body sketches.

We had a skeleton in the gross anatomy lab in medical school. There is a photo around somewhere with me in my smelly formaldehyde laden lab coat with my arm around the skeleton, holding a pipe in his mouth.

My roommate and I were given a bone box and a skull box to take home and study.  One month later, we put a hat on the skull,  lit it up,  and put it in our ground floor window for Halloween on 16th Street in D.C.   Down the street a few blocks was the White House  where our neighbor  JFK and his family lived.


LOUIS  PRIMA with a song for the skeleton  “I Ain’t Got No Body.”   And also “Just a Gigolo.” which is about my ambition after my bar mitzvah.




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Jason Tramm conducts during the Songs of Faith performance. August 26, 2018. By Paul Goldfinger ©  Click to enlarge


A standing O at the end of the concert. 8/26/18. By Paul Goldfinger © Click to enlarge.


Editor’s Note:  We are initiating a series of black and white photographs taken this summer season in or near the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ.   These two images were obtained inside that magnificent building during the Music of the Spirit Concert on Sunday, August 26, 2018.


PENTATONIX.  (Christmas in August:   “Mary, Did You Know?”)


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.  2020 re-post  (The original question posited in the headline is still valid.)

There are multiple factions in the small town of Ocean Grove (pop  3,700,) and these organized groups are largely isolated from each other. Woven into the fabric are homeowners and renters who live here but do not belong to any organizations, thus becoming, by default, a faction of their own.

According to social scientist Steve Valk, whose family has lived here for several generations, it would be important for these factions to find ways to appreciate and cooperate with each other. For example he cites the religious groups and the secular groups which ought to find common ground for the benefit of the town. One example of such cooperation is the recent interaction, since Sandy, between Ocean Grove United (OGU) and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association  (CMA); however we have recently seen how tenuous that relationship is when we recall the  clash about Sunday sermons this past summer.

The CMA ran the town from 1869 to 1980—-111 years. Neptune Township  treated OG as a sort of gated community.  The CMA made the rules and imposed blue laws until the N.J. Supreme Court put a stop to that in 1980 when Neptune  took over active governance in the Grove  (although they were technically the governing body almost since the town’s founding.)  Since 1980, the CMA has continued its mission and  it has largely kept out of the way of Neptune Township.

But we now see the CMA and the Township working together on the North End Redevelopment Project, but suspicious elements have been revealed, and that project does not seem to be designed primarily with the town’s best interest at heart.

As for the Neptune Township governance, you have seen the results of our recent poll which shows  that 80% of respondents mistrust  the Neptune Township Committee. Interestingly, over the years, there were times when the citizens rose up against Neptune control resulting in law suits and even a failed referendum to allow the Grove to become a separate town which it did for one year in 1925.

The other organizations here also tend to have their own agendas and to be run like private clubs. Such groups include the Homeowners Association, the Historical Society, Ocean Grove United, and the Chamber of Commerce.

They don’t work together very much for the good of the town.  They are busy with their own activities.  For example, the Chamber of Commerce runs big events to try and drum up business for the merchants.  But what do they do for the benefit of those who live here?  We asked them to take over sponsorship of the Town-wide Yard Sale, but they refused.

 When we introduced a new idea for the town—the Blogfinger Film Festival—a benefit for the boardwalk—-only a few of the members would be sponsors for the program, and hardly any attended the event.

When we think of factions in town, we can see the visible ones, but how about the invisible ones such as families that have lived here for generations and are part of networks that act in concert with each other, with the CMA,  and with the Township governance, especially where land use, zoning,  and parking are concerned.  Let’s call that “the network of special interests.”

For them the town of Ocean Grove seems like a gift that keeps on giving. This network never speaks publicly, shows its face, or identifies itself, but what it does and has done will impact all of us and will determine what the town will be in the future. 

We have seen the results of favoritism for those special interests in the Greek Temple and Mary’s Place.  The North End Redevelopment Project is a good example to keep an eye on.  Who will be the winners, and who will be the losers?

Because of indifference by the public, organizations, and special interests, Ocean Grove may become an at-risk town which could end up a failed historic  place without focus and character, such as is seen in other shore towns—unless the public pays attention and the organizations here begin to work together for the overall benefit of the town and not just on their narrow pet projects, like the Homeowners Association which is currently circulating a simple-minded parking survey while ignoring the improprieties and illegalities around town regarding land use issues.  The HOA has teamed up with the Neptune Committee ever since 2008 when it supported 165 residential units, mostly condos, at the North End.

In 2002, a professor* at Monmouth University published an academic paper about OG history, emphasizing the powerful way that the activist HOA of 25-30 years ago  fought for the town and saved its life.  Below  is a quote**  from that research about that era.

Contrast the conclusion below with the current HOA which now is failing Ocean Grove through impotence, inaction, and lack of focus towards the issues which currently threaten our town the most.

The Home Groaners need to step up and save the town once again,  but this version appears to so far be hopeless in that regard.

** 2002:   “The HOA has maintained or reconstructed the carefully planned infrastructure of the founders, and even as Ocean Grove is being reborn as a contemporary tourist site, the HOA has worked with the CMA to preserve its sacred foundations. Just like the CMA, the HOA has been outstanding in its ability to secure what it wants and what it believes the community needs. Property values have risen, the community is again a safe place, tourism has been revived, an enormous amount of social capital has been generated, and the Victorian charm of the town has been restored.”

By Karen Schmelzkopf*  in the Journal of Historical Geography, 2002




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Molly–a new Grover. 11/19/20 Paul Goldfinger photo ©   Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor at Blogfinger.net.

Molly moved to Ocean Grove recently.  She rents in the Grove and works in Red Bank.

She was walking alone on the boards late in the day.  It was cold out, but Molly wore a smile.  I had my camera and I took this shot without any discussion.  That’s what “street photographers”  do.

I happened to have a 28 mm wide angle lens on my Leica Monochrom 246.   The “decisive moment” * is what we seek.  You dance with the girl you came with, and so it goes with interchangeable camera lenses.  If there is time in photography, one could get closer, but not in this case at that moment.   Fortunately our software allows a viewer to click on the image and get a closer view.

A few minutes later I caught up with Molly.  I said, “Hi” and  asked,  “Can I take your picture?”   There was not a hint of caution on her part.  She continued to smile and to say, “Sure.”

We will post those portrait shots another time.  We chatted briefly, and I gave her a Blogfinger card.

She said, “I love it here.”


*Cartier-Bresson, the famous French street photographer coined the phrase:  “The Decisive Moment.”






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Days in Ocean Grove. Historic ice cream parlor. Paul Goldfinger photo. Tri-X film and a silver gelatin darkroom print made by me.



Portrait of Eileen. Film (Tri-X) darkroom print by Paul Golfinger. ©



Camelia River in Ft. Myers, Fla. Digital photograph. December, 2019. There are many variables which go into the appearance of this image. It is seen here only as a digital file made with my Leica Monochrome 246, although a paper print is possible if a negative is made (purists do this) or a digital printer is used. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©


By Paul Goldfinger,  Photo editor @Blogfinger.net

Years ago I did only color photography. I did well making pretty pictures, some of which wound up winning contests and being displayed internationally by Pfizer Labs.   But I got bored with it and decided to do black and white photos. Eileen got the job of documenting our family’s history in color.

So I took courses and learned how to create high quality black and white prints in the darkroom.  That was much more challenging and rewarding than merely sending the film to a lab. Half the battle with black and white negatives becoming fine prints is in the darkroom.

Some of you who have been interested in fine-art photography know that most of the greats of the past worked only in black and white.

I became a Leica B&W photographer, one of a specialized group that used those fabulous German cameras with their remarkable lenses.  Many of those professional artists were photojournalists, becoming expert at street photography using those small and unobtrusive 35 mm cameras. They bridged the gap between news and fine art.

Remember Robert Capa?   He was on assignment for Life Magazine.  He took his Leica along when he landed with the first wave at D-Day.  There is a remarkable story about that.  Here is a Blogfinger link:

Robert Capa lands on D-Day


One of Capa’s D-Day images. He won a Pulitzer for this courageous work.


Cartier Bresson carried his Leica under his raincoat while sitting at cafés in Paris. All of a sudden he would stand up with his camera and take a picture.  Then sit down and get back to his espresso.   He called it the “decisive moment.”

So for years I only did B&W, although there were some exceptions.  Basically I preconceived my photos by looking at the world in black and white.

A great debate eventually developed over which was better:  film or digital, but that became academic since high quality digital color and black and white images could now be obtained.

In my case, before Blogfinger,  I continued to do only film work and I built a darkroom in my 1880 OG house. It was historic because photography was invented before OG was founded. Remember Matthew Brady during the Civil War?

But when Blogfinger began, I saw that digital images could look spectacular on the Internet.  That’s when I closed my darkroom.  No more hours breathing in chemicals, on my feet, and no more matting, mounting and framing prints.  And I entered a color phase once again, along with B&W.

I like to display my images on BF or by having digital black and white prints made by a fine-art lab, usually in small sizes and then I dry mount them on photo mats.  This way they can be placed on a shelf without any glass or plastic….just the basic  image which can be picked up, changed,  and moved about easily–very retro and satisfying.

But now, as Blogfinger becomes more artsy, I am going back to the days when I shot mostly black and white.  It takes some getting used to by the photographer and by those looking at those pictures.

I think black and white images generally  contain more richness, soul, subtext, subtlety, and spirituality.  And it takes me back to when black and white was all we had, kept aloft by all those S’s.

And now I have to figure out how to get the most out of a new digital camera that only takes black and white images. I sold my film cameras—there is still a market out there for them, and the pendulum is swinging back somewhat.  Art students are learning how to do darkroom printing, sometimes pursuing historic materials such as light sensitive gold or platinum.

Below is the latest M series Leica digital camera–the “Monochrom.”  It is purposely designed to look like its ancestors from the 1930’s, but it is incredibly complicated with software menus out the wazoo.

I have one, but it will take time to excel with it.  You will be seeing more black and white on Blogfinger, but feel free to submit color images if yours are very good.  I will too.  I still have a fine color camera for the 4th of July parade and other “color-essential” events.


Leica M “Monochrom” digital camera. 2019.  High speed Leica 35 mm. lens “the Summilux-M.”



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Inishmore, Aran Islands. Ireland. 1992 ©

Inishmore, Aran Islands. Ireland. 1992 © By Timothy Whelan.  Click to enlarge.

We wrote about Tim Whelan before on Blogfinger when we presented another image from his Portfolio #1.  We promised to show some more of his work.

The Portfolio contains images which Tim obtained and personally printed in the darkroom with great skill and sensitivity.  Subsequently we will share some of what the great American photographer Paul Caponigro had to say about Tim’s work.

As noted before, I met Tim at the Maine Photographic Workshops in 1995.  The class which we took was a master printer’s workshop with one of America’s most famous printers and photographers George Tice.  This photograph by Tim is reminiscent  of George Tice’s book Stone Walls, Gray Skies.

Here is a link to our piece about George Tice:


Here is a link to the Blogfinger article about Tim Whelan:




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