Color slides offer little control, other than filters and cropping, whereas color prints offer some additional controls in the areas of size, cropping, and filters, in the print making. Black & white (monochrome) offers the greatest amount of control by use of dodging, to reduce or increase the tones in various areas of the print. Therefore the use of a darkroom will be necessary as well as additional control after the print has been exposed and developed. A darkroom will provide the best results, since photofinishers do not want to be bothered with all the details and instructions you may request.
Now how can you learn the craft of photography? You may attend schools or join a camera club, and your library may have a good selection of photography books. For the beginner, I would suggest a local camera club. many clubs join the Photographic Society of America, which has members from all over the world. The Society has programs on all aspects of photography that are available to members and member clubs. Details on the PSA can be found online. So check out your local camera club, or why not start one of your own?
Monochrome print by William Steere