Every few months I have a project that requires me to open the vault (literally – I keep my film negatives in a vault) and go through hundreds of files to rescan a specific image from a film shoot. I still shoot film, although much less than digital these days, and it’s like handling a physical time line of my photography career to go back to those old negatives.
I held negative file number one in my hands last night. The first roll of film that I shot as I embarked on my photography career. Flipping forward through the negatives was a journey through the experiences, models and places I’ve been over the last 16 years. It’s a humbling experience to watch the progress, the experimentation and even some of the failures that ultimately led to great successes in defining my vision and who I am as a photographer.
It’s hard to come up with exactly how many photographs I’ve made over the years, but if my rough math is even close accurate, I’m approaching 100,000 images. That’s quite a few clicks of the shutter. And it’s an enormous number of negatives and digital files to maintain.
So that’s why visiting those negatives is like visiting old friends. It’s fun to rework them using modern technology and pull every bit of detail out of them with modern scanning technology. I made this scan tonight of Garbo, the miniature pincher that belongs to a great designer friend of mine called Siena. It’s from film roll number 91. Thousands of rolls of film later, it was great fun to see that image again in all it’s glory.
We shot several rolls of film that day but the thing that struck me about that particular photograph was how human Garbo looks. Almost like the old classic models from the pages of Vogue decades ago. Demure and sophisticated. And an old friend.