But for the devoted black-and-white photographer, things aren't that easy, and the finished product is usually a work of art.
At the Horace Williams House at 610 E. Rosemary St., you can catch a glimpse of that art form.
The Horace Williams House is featuring the work of members of the Triangle Black and White Photo Group through April 24. Formed five years ago, the group is a way for local photographers to share their work with their peers.
The exhibit contains 28 black-and-white photographs produced by 13 members of the group. The show has no theme; it's merely a chance for the photographers to show off what they consider to be their best work.
The photographs included in the exhibit were taken by mostly medium- and large-format cameras and use special techniques such as infrared flashes.
The subjects of the photographs range from everyday local scenes to exotic locations from around the world. Some of the pictures are of things some might see every day but take for granted, like the Bodie Lighthouse in Dare County.
The photographers in the group range in age and experience. Dick Cicone, who has been a photographer for 40 years, is a member of the group and the organizer of the exhibition. He enjoys working with the group because of the creativity and dedication that exists within it. He said everything is done by hand by each photographer. "They create the exposure; they go into the dark room. The only thing we don't make ourselves is the film and the paper," he said.
The members' photos have been featured throughout the Triangle area. But the Horace Williams House exhibition is the first time so many of their works have been shown in one place simultaneously.
One member of the group, Bob Gilgor, got involved in photography after retiring five years ago. Gilgor took some classes, including a few at UNC, and decided to start taking pictures of his own.
"Black-and-white photography is an art form where you can compose not only when you snap the shutter but in the dark room as well," he said. Even more important to Gilgor is taking a picture with meaning. "I always try to leave a message," he said.
The photos on exhibit at the Horace Williams House display both meaning and technical excellence, Cicone said. "Being a part of the Triangle Black and White Photo Group has been a unique experience," he said.
The Horace Williams House is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Tuesday through Friday and from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m Sunday. Call 942-7818 for more information.
The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at email@example.com.
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