Celebrating National Ampersand Day with a B&W Portrait

by | Sep 8, 2020

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Who doesn’t love the fun & functional ampersand? From jotting a shorthand “and” to branding corporate names, this curly, quirky little character is ubiquitously useful. It’s also quite aesthetic, as you’ll see at AmperArt.com, featuring “the ampersand as fun & fabulous art.”

To acknowledge & applaud this great little glyph, National Ampersand Day is observed annually on September 8th. Did you know that..

  • The ampersand used to be the last letter of the alphabet?
  • It is a ligature of “e” & “t”? That’s “et” in Latin, meaning “and”?
  • The word “ampersand” is a slurring of “real words” run together over time?
  • The plus sign is actually an ampersand?

How I made this shot: Since it’s National Ampersand Day today’s feature image is in black & white! This portrait of Courtney was made during our first session— a test shoot—together. As such I didn’t make any lighting setup shots but do recall that the setup consisted of a 300 Ws Flashpoint monolight fitted with a 36 x 36-inch softbox that was placed close to the subject and just out of range at camera right. A 32-inch reflector was placed at camera right but during the session I moved it in and out of the shots I was making while trying to create a more dramatic look. A Savage 5 x 7-foot Infinity grey vinyl background is hung on my still-falling apart JTL background stands.

The camera used was my former (now sold) Canon EOS 50D with a (now discontinued) EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens at 56mm. Exposure was 1/125 at f/18 and ISO 100. The JPEG file (made before my current RAW+JPEG shooting regimen) was retouched using Imagenomic’s Portraiture, then tweaked in Vivenza before opening it in Exposure Software’s Exposure X5 where it was converted to black & white adding the edge effects from the software that I am currently in love with.

I had two other shoots with Courtney before she moved on but one of them was My Homage to E.J. Bellocq that many people seem to like. It’s also in black & white and you can see it here.




Copies of my book Creative Digital Monochrome Effects is available from Amazon with new copies selling for $31.40 with used copies starting around two bucks, way less than your next coffee at a Starbucks drive-through. No Kindle version is currently available, sorry.