I’ve been very busy printing some difficult prints, so of course, like a squeezed balloon, the pressure bulges out somewhere else. That seems to be the way I work; I get a lot of energy for something besides where the real pressure is. In this case, I took my scanner apart and cleaned the inner glass, which had been unusably crudded up with film from the outgassing plastic. I hadn’t really been able to scan any of my old sheet film in years. So yesterday I went down a rabbit hole, scanning all kinds of sheet film from the early 80s, when I was young and skinny and Serious About Photography. Yesterday, I re-fell in love with black and white film, again. The subtle silvery tones and haze of light graininess: Oh! I swam in the silvery tones as each scan completed (they take a long time, at high resolution with this big film). It was rather like darkroom developing, turning on the light after the film comes out of the fixer to look.
I used to print softer and more subtly than the Pop! that is more compelling and in easy reach with modern lenses and sensors. I remembered that in a good way.
Yesterday for a few hours I was 22, and the world was made of silver crystals and light. “I’m going to be a photographer.”
Damn, all these years later, I AM a photographer. Most of my life I’ve lived this vision, and it’s made me richer in spirit, if poorer in purse.
So anyway, I will be posting some of those (and other!) scans someday, but in the meantime, I would also have been pleased to get the image above, back in the film days. It’s kind of a bridge, a subtle silver smoothness from the old days, married to a modern snappiness of tone that I would have been pleased to pull off in those old days too.