Laura Macky Photography

Journey of a body on this earth

The Paramount Theater in Black and White


Today I took my camera club to the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California.  The Paramount Theatre is a 3,040 seat Art Deco movie theater built in 1931, and it was the largest multi-purpose theater on the West Coast, seating 3,476 people at that time.  Today, the Paramount is the home of the Oakland East Bay Symphony and the Oakland Ballet, it regularly plays host to R&B, jazz, blues, pop, rock, gospel, classical music, as well as ballets, plays, stand-up comedy, lecture series, special events, and screenings of classic movies from Hollywood’s Golden Era.

What’s even more exciting about this theater for me is that in 1977 my high school had it’s graduation here.  I believe we were the first class to graduate here, but I’m sure some of my friends from high school will let me know if I’m not remembering that correctly.  I’ve also been to many concerts here including Jerry Seinfeld and more recently the late Natalie Cole.

While the theater is full of amazing color, for some reason I had an urge to do a black and white rendition for my first photo.  A blast of color will be coming soon so stay tuned!

Paramount Theater in Black and White

Paramount Theater in Black and White

Author: lauramacky

Journey of a Body on this Earth

70 thoughts on “The Paramount Theater in Black and White

  1. Wow! Lovely photo. I love this in black and white, and I’m sure it would be just as beautiful in color.

  2. LOVE this in B&W, Laura (and I’ve seen the beautiful colors)!Superbly shot and processed!! What an amazing place to have a graduation 🙂 And Natalie Cole passed?? I had no idea 😦

  3. Beautiful Laura! The B&W processing works a treat 🙂

  4. I saw this on Flickr and I was hoping there would be a blog post about it, I like the B&W but I’m trying to imagine the colors. Great job!

  5. Reminds me of some old NYC theaters I grew up with and recently we had our work in a show in a CT theater like these. Old school beauty. Great shot and B&W is perfect here. One of your best I believe.

    • They just don’t make ’em like this anymore. Such a shame. What’s cool about this theater is that it has been fully restored and not renovated. The amazing detail is everywhere! Thank you so much for the nice complement. 🙂

  6. You’re at it again! Beautiful!

  7. This is stunning! Love it in black and white!

  8. What a magnificent theatre. So cool to have a graduation in such a grand place 👌 Did you and you camera club just walked in and take photos? 🙂

    • Thank you Mabel! I wish we could just walk in. We had to schedule it. It was $80 for the tour and there were 13 of us. We had the whole place to ourselves with a fantastic docent!

  9. Oh this image sings of history and glory. That ceiling and incredible pattern in the carpet! I love that you went black and white, great eye! Love this, it allows you to focus on each wild detail and get a “feeling” for every inch of it.

    • Thank you Carrie. It truly is a magical place! Wait till you see the color. I had to post this to begin with because after the color the B&W would be in its shadow. At least for me. 🙂

  10. Very beautiful picture..! Great shot Laura..!

  11. Fantastic in black and white, Laura. Need to put it on my list of old theatre stops. Classic.

    • Thanks much Jane. Oh and please do! If you do it, coordinate a photography tour. They give you time to take pictures vs. the regular tour. It’s more expensive but worth it. What history!

  12. I think that in B&W is really perfect,this pic gives the perfect idea of the ‘swinging’ times.First thought I had was the movie ‘Shining’ but not for the fear or terror just the feeling of Nicholson talking at the bar with the bar tender at night.Good job 🙂

  13. What a fabulous interior in B&W !Laura ! Let the drama unfold ..

  14. Great composition, Laura.

  15. What a glorious theatre! Looking forward to the colour image

  16. What an impressive photograph, Laura. Stunning shot and B&W finish. I like the lighting and the symmetry. You composition really boosts this scene. Smiles. Reinhold

    • Thank you so much Reinhold. I’m glad you like what I did with it. I really do adore symmetry. I think it’s what first attracted me to photography actually. Thank you so much for the kind comments. 🙂

  17. I have only been to this theater once, and your beautiful photo makes me want to attend an event there again. Your photos always do that to me. I want to go everywhere you photograph!!

    • Aww thank you Carol! And please DO go for a tour. There are two types…if you don’t want to photograph it, you can do the $5 tour which is two times a month I think. They give you a bit more history of the theater in that one although we got quite a bit in ours as well.

  18. Pingback: The Paramount Theater in Black and White | Laura Macky Photography | Rogues & Vagabonds

  19. Love the B/W!!! It keeps that “old-style” look in it.
    We have a Paramount here in Anderson, IN. Not as beautiful and fancy, but reasonably. It has been taken out of the theater (movie) business and is used for speakers and such.

  20. Not seeing Natalie Cole in concert is one of my few regrets in life; Your graduation in that facility must have been so amazing.

    • It really was incredible Charlie. We were lucky to have seen her there. This place has a magic for me. Every time I encounter the paramount, it has been special. Thank you. 🙂

  21. It’s so surreal. and so symmetrical

  22. Can’t decide which I like better. Do I have to choose?

  23. Great Image, Laura. I really like the B&W treatment. As others have remarked, it evokes the nostalgia of its heyday. I need to put this place on my list for my next trip to SF. I love these old buildings. When in Saint Louis a few years back we toured the Fox Theater, a large and ornate movie palace opened by the Fox Film Company in 1929 and restored in 1982. Like the Paramount it is used today for movies, plays, concerts, etc. and offers tours.

    • Next time you come, make your reservation ahead of time if you want a photo tour. The regular tour is much more crowded and doesn’t go to the same spots in the theater and doesn’t give you time to take photos. Oakland also has a Fox Theater that used to be similar to the one it St. Louis but it has been renovated and not restored. 😦

  24. I love this one! Such detail! and light!

  25. Beautiful shots of your Paramount Theater. The one in Denver, the management limits access and does not allow photography

    A little more history, the Paramount-Publix chain of theaters that showed films by Paramount Pictures built in the early 1930s all were art deco in design. The one in Denver had its entrance moved and redesigned by Temple Buell. The one in Denver is used as a live concert venue, and still has its original twin-console Wurlitzer organ. (The other existing one is at Radio City Music Hall.)

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