Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The development of moving pictures

When Portland photographer Bryan Wolf showed me these photos last week I was pretty amazed. What at first seems a carefully considered Pictorial revival turns out to be old photos left in the rain. For me they serve as a reminder that accidents can play a central role in good photography. Here's the backstory courtesy of Bryan:

Maryland Sunset 2

When we moved late last fall, I had to let go of a ton of childhood stuff--homework from 3rd grade, early darkroom prints from the mid-80s, and other stuff I only see when I move. Of course I still saved thousands and thousands of photographs and lots of other useless memorabilia to enjoy one day in the future. A few things never made it into the overcrowded basement, including that old computer desk you gave me, an upright moviola, and a mystery box. They were all under a tarp on the back patio but after multiple windy rainstorms, things got wet including the box, which turned out to have lots of rolls of machine prints from the early 80s to about 1991, plus a bunch of reels of 16mm negative.


On a sunny saturday in September I finally dealt with that box, but as usual, instead of heaving it into the trash I picked through the spiders and the mold to see what photos I ruined. After peeling apart a few stacks of soggy prints I realized that my negligence and slobbishness had set me up for an art explosion. So I laid prints all around the back patio to dry as I had all sorts of flashbacks, most of which are as washed away as these images had become.

Israel Summer

Of course I stayed out late that night and didn't bring the dry prints in. Instead I woke up to the sound of rain starting and ran outside to grab some potential favorites, just before a huge storm washed away more information from the prints. A couple weeks later I grabbed more that are interesting, and I think there are still a few out there to go deal with.

Maryland Sunset 2

Israel Summer 2

Andy B and Jim Morrison

Israel Summer 3

Dome of the Rock

Israel Summer 4


Dad 2


1 comment:

Allie Mount said...

Lovely to see these posted. It's like the elements had a mind of their own and were working with you, around the key scenes of each image. Sort of uncanny, nostalgic and beautiful all at once.