From the archive

In an earlier column I revisited a year when  I spent Thanksgiving in Egypt. 

 

Here’s another Egypt photograph from the archive.

 

(Perhaps it’s an ode to warmer climes.)

 

Much of my past photographs — including the one above — were shot with 35mm film and developed by hand in a darkroom.

 

Introduced to analog photography in high school, I kept up the craft into college. I still own film cameras. 

 

The vegetable drawer in my refrigerator holds rolls and rolls of film. (Film, like vegetables, keeps well when cold.)

 

A 35mm photography archive is an odd thing nowadays, I suppose.
Film negatives represent a strange mixture of permanence and fragility that their digital counterparts don’t embody.

 

Drop a laptop computer, and your pictures may vanish. Drop some negatives, and you brush off the dust.

 

My negatives have shadowed  my movements from place to place. Some have been brought back and forth across the country. As physical objects, they are susceptible to human forgetfulness and climactic shifts. 

 

The meaning and value of this past work ebbs and flows, too. Sometimes it’s helpful to forget about the archive — other times, to remember and learn from it.

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