Creating the Archives
Something I have been meaning to do for a very long time has been to create some archives of my work from the film era. I have many hundreds , if not thousands of both transparency and Negative content which needed to be scanned and documented - the Lock-down has given me the opportunity to get down to business and get some of this done. We have all found these times difficult and I have been quite fortunate up until this point where I have had my retaining job which pays the rent, which is fortunately not too time consuming not to offer me the opportunity to get on with other things when I am not at work. A lot of time at home leads to getting jobs done basically because there is nothing else to do, ha ha - at least that is something. So armed with my Nikon Coolscan V and my Epson V550 I set about the chore which is going to prove to be a very long one indeed. I never realised I had so many transparencies and negatives in my possession but I guess over 40 years behind the camera does tend to generate plenty of images overall.
Making photographic memories
Making photographs is something we should all do and indeed are doing more and more these days with cell phone cameras.
I am somewhat envious of the kids of today being to record for all time the fun they enjoy with friends and family, their cameras always poised for special moments or incidents of error that amuse them.
Of course it was not always like this, the average family had one photographer, normally Dad, who seemingly never got into the images and when he did they were few and far between – the generations of forgotten Dad’s, ha ha, I know I was one of them.
The family often had someone who followed in Dad’s footsteps, we are after all, inspired by our parents and often follow the same path be it in career of indeed hobbies, that again has changed dramatically as we move forth in the 21st century.
Quite often a child would be inspired to pick up a camera and if a talent or indeed enthusiasm was noted, it was hopefully encouraged by good parentage to nurture the child’s interest.
Rather thankfully, this was my experience. My father had been a keen photographer as a younger man, and had been the family photographer as I grew up, I am ever indebted to him for the memory joggers along the way of wonderful holidays and summer experiences long forgotten. The camera, seemed to always come out for adventures and events that somehow needed recording for all time - we have them to this day.
I was gifted a Polaroid Land camera when I was 10 years of age, and I took as much film with it as my mother could afford, this I remember proved expensive so I migrated to a 126 cartridge Kodak Instamatic 100, which was nothing more than a compact pin hole camera utilising the latitude of colour film to permit the user to get away with the rule of thumb that was ‘sunny 16’ - you know I still use it to this day, so it would seem in my early teens that carved a memory for all time which would prove of adult service.
Now some 40 years later and after a string of different cameras and experiences I have thousands of images, slides, negatives and prints of my own children, our fabulous holidays and adventures.
I hope that today’s young boys and girls save their images and more importantly print their images for all time, to be treasured as a tactile object to keep in that shoebox under the bed. Digital images are all to often lost in the archives on a phone memory card or worst still accidentally deleted or lost on a failed computer drive
Print your work, is something you will hear me say often, very often.
Photographic memories should be stored in albums and books, not on a hard drive where they never get ‘air time’ and the viewer is limited to the owner or a fleeting glance over a shoulder.
Yes images are often shared on media and particularly Facebook and Instagram but again they soon disappear down the feed to be lost for eternal time but to pop up as a memory every now and again.
Books are a great way to show your work, as keep-sake's and for sharing, print your images as gifts and allow others to enjoy the memories that you captured in the making, as time passes these become more and more valuable to us as human beings.
We have boxes and albums of images from when the children were young that we absolutely treasure, they are one of the few possessions you own that are irreplaceable in your life should they be lost or damaged, treasure them, keep them safe.
I print a lot of my work, I always have, I prefer a tactile object, the feeling of touch adds to the viewing experience, the crisp paper, the texture of quality in your hand somehow adds to the whole experience. I am first and foremost a film photographer, it’s where it began for me, and it is where it will end for me. There is an unbelievable feeling of excitement when you pull a film out of the camera ready to explore its treasure that you have compiled on that small journal of celluloid.
I have become disillusioned with the platforms of social media and the internet in general. Facebook and Instagram are killing good photography rather than nurturing it, and the masses will disagree with me. People waste exquisite images by looking at them on nothing more than a cell phone and if you’re still reading this, well, I’m impressed, you stuck with me, because most won’t. Why because the internet has destroyed people’s attention span, sound-bites and click bait that do no more than to appeal to the masses.
The internet has succeeded in giving us the ease of the next fix, good or bad, people need it because they are told to have it by corporate advertising that appeals to the masses, because they fail to be individuals, they loose their uniqueness as a human being, they loose their originality and identity.
So my message is get out there and make your work for print, make a book, a magazine and share it with friends, get it on amazon and share tactility – it is so much more rewarding than a ‘like’ on Facebook, which is lost to memory, by the time the viewer looks at the next image.
Be proud of your work, because your unique.
I am not an affiliate to any of these but try great companies such as Loxley Colour, Photobox and My Picture to name but a few - a quick google can be your friend.