When I was a junior in high school, I took Black & White photography as an elective. We learned the ins and outs of manual film photography, development, and printing — in a darkroom and everything.
My mom gave me her old Nikon manual SLR to use for the class. And when I say manual, I mean manual. Manual focus, manually adjusting the shutter speed or aperture — no little LCD screen with a single dial to adjust those settings. It still worked perfectly, though. For a year, I took that thing almost everywhere with me — you never knew when I’d get the chance for a few shots for my next assignment.
By the end of the year, I loved photography, and asked for a newer model — a Canon — for my birthday. The Nikon went back to my mom, but I was so glad I spent a year learning the absolute basics with that camera.
Now, I rarely shoot film (that shit is expensive, yo), but I’m making an effort to change that. One roll, one weekend each month this year (starting tomorrow, obviously) I want to take myself on little “photo field trips” to document different parts of the city in black and white.
(And then eventually, I’ll have the space for a darkroom so I can finally move that equipment out of my parents’ storage locket and start making my own prints.)