I’m enjoying the last few days of a vacation this weekend. Since I’m not doing any real traveling, that means I’ve spent the last week looking a list of projects I’ve wanted to accomplish. And true to form, I spent the first few days of my time off relaxing and having fun…. which is as it should be really. But I’m grinning now, thinking of the amount of non-relaxing that I’ve been doing in the last 48 hours. It’s all been pleasant mind you, but it’s definitely work, pleasant though it may be. My poor computers are being multi-tasked to their limits (thank you oh multitasking OS X!) with scanning and DVD burning and photoshopping and postcard designing and printing and website updating. It does feel like a well oiled machine around here finally. I have managed to get to the surface of my desk… something I haven’t seen in months. That alone feels good.
I was having a hard time trying to figure out what image I wanted to use this month for the monthly postcard… of which I have only managed to get four out this year. The image that I use is never random. I really try to choose an image that has something to do with how I’m feeling or something I’ve been thinking about that month. Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about France. Nothing very specific, just being interested in French politics in the news, thinking about taking a trip there, studying French artists and things like that. But I think it was the film I saw this week, “A Very Long Engagement” that pushed me over the edge. A great film set in a great country.
Now that I had the kind of image I wanted to use, the trick was selecting the exact frame. Of all the places I’ve traveled in the last fifteen years, I have made the fewest photographs in France. Not for any other reason than I didn’t have a great deal of time there. So little in fact that I shot only one roll of film on a Sunday morning in Paris in mid-September. That was over ten years ago. I’m sure I’ve examined that roll of film a hundred times or more. I suspected that when I looked at it again this week I would focus in on the same two or three images that I felt were the highlights of the roll. But this time, instead of simply looking through a loupe and tiny images on a contact sheet, I decided to do high resolutions scans of the whole roll. It’s a time consuming process that takes the better part of a day.
What I found was remarkable. My scanning equipment and software has really improved over the years and it was like I was looking at the group of 35 photographs for the first time. I had certainly only made large prints of two or three of the negatives and so the other images had really not been inspected beyond looking through the loupe. This time I found another handful of new images I’m really happy with and they now complete with and perhaps even surpass the images I had originally selected as “keepers” ten years ago.
That’s one of the things I love about going back over old negatives that I haven’t examined in years. Perhaps my perspective changes over time. I’m sure it does. I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to change what I find appealing about my work when I’m editing images. However, it’s been happening ever since I’ve been shooting, so I really shouldn’t be surprised. Yet, It makes me smile every time when I am. This month’s postcard features one of those new surprises. I hope you enjoy it.
Here’s the postcard that will be going out in a day or two.