A box of old photographs

June 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Most people have them, especially photographers.  They are tucked away on a shelf in your closet, forgotten, gathering dust and fading.  They are a box of old photographs.  Some are funny, many embarrassing, some even revealing.  They are captures of happy times, family vacations, or perhaps feeble attempts to be an artist.

I had an encounter with just such a box last week when I went looking for an old film camera to use as a prop at a party.  I never found the camera (a Pentax film camera--it must be in the house someplace!), but I did find about two dozen envelopes of old photos, some black and white, some very faded color, some dating back to when I was in high school or college in the later 1960s and early 1970s.

As might be expected, the photos made me wistful and laugh or marvel at the changes in the craft of photography and developing.  The camera was a good one at the time I bought it (my first camera purchase!), but it is a relic by current standards (if I ever find it).

But it was the photographs that fascinated me.  Yes, many are faded or the colors are garish--consumer chemical processing was so poor back then.  The content and the composition really intrigued me. That is to say, I was amazed at how much my technique has changed and how much the subject matter has remained the same.  My technique has certainly improved.  Then I was too far away from many things I photographed or many of the pictures were very crooked or out of focus. Now that is not as much of a problem.  I use excellent equipment (Nikons) and my ability to frame an image is very good--or so I am told---and I have PhotoShop to fix the mistakes!

What has remained is my inclusion of water in many of my images.  There are many pictures taken here at the Jersey Shore, and many taken around New York (not surprising, since I split my time between both areas).  There are also lots of images of sunsets, and boats, and buildings, and people.  All things I enjoy taking pictures of today.

When I took these images I had thoughts that photography may be a good profession to go into--lots of travel and adventures, doing something I loved. But then practicality took over and I went in a completely different direction.  I left photography in the background for more than 30 years and by the time I returned, the world had changed profoundly. It has been an interesting and at times infuriating return trip.  Still, I find it amazing that the subjects I found fascinating more than 40 years ago are still those I am attracted to today. I guess it shows that in some ways I have changed completely and in others, I have remained the same.



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