Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Memories and Projects

the farmhouse, 2016
 Over the past few weeks I have been diligently going through my various hard drives and consolidating my image files onto one 4TB hard drive.  I am appalled at how poorly I used to organize my scans.  On top of that, I find that I have probably lost some files that had been previously on a Mac.  Once I am done, I will then recopy the newly assembled files onto several 1TB hard drives, and erase the old drives that had previously stored all my backups.  One thing is apparent -- I have shot a lot of digital images over the past 12 years.  Even though I also shoot even more film now than I did 15 years ago, I still have quite a few digital images, though I would say that the number has dropped considerably from a few years ago.  It's also given me a chance to revisit images that I haven't looked at in a while.   In some cases, I can see where a series of images from different years could easily be a project, or even a publication, were I inclined to forge ahead with them. I will be considering that aspect more seriously in the coming months.  Some images meant a great deal to me at the time, and in retrospect, have less interest to me now, and others that I may have thought less of at the time, and may even hardly remember now, have more significance.  That's the thing when I shoot digital -- it's easy to take a lot of photographs and experiment with the lenses and controls at the time of exposure to make a shot "just so."  The instant feedback is certainly a creative bonus.  However, I found that some of the results were exactly what I was getting with some of my "toy cameras," where I may have only taken one shot of a scene.

I am enjoying looking at images from 10 years ago, and seeing how my photography has changed -- not just subject matter, but also the quality of the image.  I will still be shooting some similar subjects as a decade ago, but am choosier about it now.

Along the way, I looked at a series of images from June 2016, when we were visiting my mother-in-law (Charlotte Murphy) and family for her 90th birthday.  Looking at them now, I was probably thinking at the time -- when will we be back to her house again?  I shot a series of images inside the house that to me, captured how I would always think of her home.  Charlotte is still doing well at 92, and I am impressed with her mental acuity and ability to be on her own.  I tell her she's my favorite MIL, and that always get a bit of a chuckle.  After knowing her for 42 years, she's probably heard most of my jokes at least twice.

the road to the farm

apple trees

Cat and stairs

Corner cupboard


Living room with desk and empty gun rack

Mementos on the mantle

There is a different look to the two sets of images - indoors vs outdoors.  The interior images, taken in the quiet morning are relatively sharp and focused.  The "memories"  are the objects depicting memories.  Trinkets from trips, photographs, paintings, and the accumulation of a lifetime.  These are purposefully shot to indicate those things.  On the other hand, the outdoor images, shot with a CCTV lens on a Nikon 1J1 camera,  are blurred, in soft-focus, and somewhat surreal.  That's because we have a memory of the farm as it once was - a working dairy farm with many acres of land and crops.  Now, it's a horse farm, owned by someone else, and partitioned off.   While I photographed it in 2016, my mind was still imagining the scene of 40 years ago.    That's how minds work.  Our reality is shaped by our experiences.  Memories are plastic, as well.  I think this is why toy cameras such as the Diana and the Holga are great at producing images that make us think of memories.
old silos

fence and trees

The flag

As I looked through the images from the farm, I realized that I have many such series that have "photo essay" all over them.  I will try and do more of these in the coming months.

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