a recent acquisition has me reminiscing over old photographs...
well not so much photographs, but pages and pages of negatives. a few weeks ago the wichita center for the arts was hosting a garage sale. reading that it would include photo equipment, i decided to join the above sixty crowd and go garage sale-ing. upon entering the storage room, i immediately found what i was looking for, enlargers. asking why they were getting rid of them, the manager told me what i already new, they were archaic. the digital age had deemed them that way during the last decade. looking for the one in the best condition, i handed him the few "hamilton's" they were asking for, and bought one, all the while hoping, and praying that it worked.
later that evening, i finally pluged it in, and a bright light appeared...literally, the light came on. i couldn't believe it! it seemed to work. rummaging through a large rubbermaid bin labeled "eric's stuff" i found my folder of forgotten film, my old negatives from my day's on the yearbook staff. i loaded a negative into the cartridge and sure enough, it focused! i now had the last piece to the "build your own darkroom" puzzle.
after the wonder of the working equipment wore off, i sat and looked through negatives from a past life. looking a each black and white image, i could still remember finding each scene through that tiny 35 mm viewfinder.
i miss that. digital photography is great, but it's guaranteed. anyone can pick up a camera and get a picture. point and shoot. back then, ( wow, do i sound like an old man) getting a photograph was a miracle, and miracle's are never guaranteed. you'd take a shot, and loose it somewhere in the roll of film with in the camera. after finishing a roll, you'd develop the film, a process filled with obstacles just waiting to ruin a great picture. after developing the film, and letting it dry, you then had to project the image from the enlarger and "burn" it onto a blank piece of paper. a blank piece of paper, only until it slowly developed under a bath of chemicals. upon finishing the necessary steps, only then could you step out from under the red light, into the real world, and see how it turned out.
it was truly magical. the process makes it that way. you had to work at it. there were no guarantees. but holding that "one of a kind" image in your hand, not on a screen, taken from your own, unique view, on this world, is priceless.
these little "inverted black-and-white" memories serve as a reference point to see where my life has taken me these past ten years, and it's almost scary to see that with all the time that has past since i've captured these images, objects really are closer then they appear.