For some reason during the last few weeks I have decided to start scanning all of my negatives from my start to now. This is a terribly large undertaking but we are finally at the point where disk space is not an issue at pennies (nickels in Canada) per gigabyte and quality is not an issue with my dedicated Nikon scanner. I’ve calculated that a roll of B+W 120 or 35 mm film scanned in at 16bit 4000dpi will occupy approximately 1 gigabyte of space. A roll of colour 120 or 35 mm at the same specs will use between 3.6 to 4.6 gigabytes. However for most of my work up to the early to mid 2000’s was all black and white, so most rolls at full resolution will occupy 1 gigabyte.
However when I primarily used film I was a casual shooter maybe shooting at most 30 rolls a month and as low as one or two so I really don’t have as much as the average professional but the difference between their work and mine is that my work is sort of autobiographical or maybe a better explanation is that my photographs represent a visual journal of my life. They are my memory because I tend to so quickly forget the details these days. Therefore I have to scan all of them in order to keep the continuity intact. I started for some reason with the year 1997. It was my most prolific year shooting film and I did do a few interesting things that year like a day trip with mom and dad to Sandbanks on Prince Edward County, a trip to Montreal and My first trip to NYC. However it was the photos that I took at Sandbanks that really made me realize that these images are important to me.
So that gets to the point of this rare written post on my blog. Lets travel back to the mid 2000s to a day when I took my family to PEC, I was still shooting a bit of film then so I had my trusty Zeiss Ikonta with me. It started to lightly rain as we were out on the beach but not so much that it drove us back to our car in a fit of panic with visions of sniffles in our future. Just a nice light rain. I noticed that as the rain fell on the sand it left perfect little spheres of dark wet sand leaving the surrounding sand very much untouched and beach sand white. I was mesmerized by this and tried to capture it on film. I actually printed and showed those images a few years later. And pretty much was done with them… until I started scanning in those PEC photos from 1997 and found three images with exactly the same patterning on the sand from what appeared to be a light rain that had fallen on it. I was taken aback by the fact that I didn’t even realized that these images existed. I had only seen them in the form of the contact sheet and had never taken the time in the darkroom to enlarge them to find out what they looked like. I just didn’t have the time and resources at the time to make a proof print of all the images that I shot. Since the early 2000’s I haven’t had a darkroom so my film workflow has always been to drop the colour film off at the lab and try to process the Black and white in my bathroom then off to the scanner they go. So every frame since then ends up being scrutinized to the last pixel on the computer monitor and that is probably why the images of the sand from the mid 2000’s ended up as a final project and the images from 1997 that I only ever saw 2 1/4 inch square never were given a second thought. I have found quite a few images so far that were over looked so this little project has all ready given something back to me all I had to do was invest some free time.