Yesterday I had some film developed down at Pro-Am Colour Laboratories in Adamstown. Those guys are so nice and always do a fantastic job.
It's crazy to think that light from some months ago, came into the camera and reacted with the photosensitive paper, in such a form that has never happened before. And now, light from today’s sun will bounce on to this paper and back into my eyes. I think photos have an interesting impact on the way I experience life.
It’s always exciting to get your negatives processed. A potent mixture of excitement over quality, and the flood of past experience. You see, I often take so long to finish a roll of film, that I can never quite remember what else is on it. In today's case, I had twenty photos taken since Christmas last year. Sometimes quite a lot happens in eight months of life. The photos are not only compositions and colours, but they are memories for me. Often the images don’t contain much information to detail time or place, or people either. Sometimes they do. But even if they don’t, they recall feelings and experiences. I tend to hit the shutter in small, still moments of time that don't necessary hold a significant event. The thing is, its not just these elements of the actual experience that spark contemplation. Just the visual composition of the photos themselves facilitates reflection. These photos help me to reflect and to remember. Add the melancholy tunes of Noah Gunderson or Kim Janssen, and you have one of my favourite things to do.
The delayed gratification associated with this kind of photography, I think, is an important factor in reflection. I am much less likely to look back on digital photos. I am often able to review these instantly, or at least on the same day as I shoot.
Soren Kierkegaard said:
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
and I like that. Douglas Coupland, in Life After God, wrote:
“When you're young, you always feel that life hasn't yet begun—that "life" is always scheduled to begin next week, next month, next year, after the holidays—whenever. But then suddenly you're old and the scheduled life didn't arrive. You find yourself asking, 'Well then, exactly what was it I was having—that interlude—the scrambly madness—all that time I had before?”
Thats it I reckon. I have twenty photos of that scrambly madness. It’s easier to see now, even just in some small way, exactly what that madness was.
Now, obviously only I have my own sentimental connection. But I hope these photos entice moments of contemplation. Stillness perhaps. This is what I love about photography. A photo contains so much more than its surface appearance. And this depth is encountered differently by each person who views it. According to what your eyes have seen, people you have loved, and everything else you have ever experienced.
I hope you enjoy them.