Friday, August 26, 2016

I Found An Old Print

Airport Lobby - McKinney, Texas
I've been capturing images for almost 20 years. I get asked sometimes to show my "early" photographic work. That's been difficult for me to do because it practically doesn't exist anymore.

Back in 2003 my house was broken into, and the things that were stolen were an odd group. Among the frozen corn dogs and broken CD player were many of my favorite black-and-white prints.

These prints I made myself. I developed the film. I worked in a darkroom with an enlarger and chemical baths and such. This was old school. These were not easily replaced pictures!

I have many of the 35mm color transparencies I captured from that era, but I don't have a slide scanner. I've been meaning to have my favorites professionally scanned, but that's not cheap and so it's not been a priority.

Back in 2004 a friend of a friend had a slide scanner and agreed to scan some of my transparencies. He never got around to it and he never returned the slides. He moved away, and not long later I moved away. I'll never see those photographs again.

That's what I mean when I say that these "early" photographs of mine don't hardly exist anymore. Many have been stolen. I don't have them and I won't ever see them. They might be in a landfill someplace.

Besides that, many of my old photographs weren't all that good. I thought they were very good at the time, but looking back they were mostly mediocre. And my tastes and style have changed, too. I find myself embarrassed by much of my old work. My photography today is superior, so I'd much rather show you that.

A few days ago I stumbled across an old print of mine that's been sitting in a box for years. It's the image you see at top, Airport Lobby, and I captured and printed it in 1999. It was a part of my "final" project for Photography 102 in college. It was one of 10 prints for that project, and likely my best of the bunch. The college had a gallery, and this image hung in that gallery for a month.

As best as I can remember, I used Ilford Delta 100 film printed on Agfa Classic fiber-based paper. I used a split contrast filter technique during printing. The camera was a Canon AE-1 with a 50mm lens attached. I believe I used a yellow filter. I scanned the print with my cheap all-in-one Epson printer so that I could share the image with you here.

If there is one photograph of mine from way back when that I'm most proud of and that has best stood the test of time, it is Airport Lobby. It fits well into my current tastes and style, and perhaps foreshadowed who I am photographically today. And it's a small miracle that the photograph still exists.

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