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Mining the Negatives - Letting Winter Take You In

December 13, 2014

The curtain has finally been lifted for Madam Winter to do her work.

“Breathe”, she says.
“Deep”, she says.
         “While walking through the world”, she whispers.


Winter is a time for turning towards the calling of our souls womb, to gather our strength after a long summer road…
one of love and pain and growth.

         “Rest your mind now”, she warns,
         “For the stirring warmth will come back around.”


         The birdsong always comes back around, bringing the morning sun and the summer nights, giving us the warmth to open ourselves up.
With warm muscles and thirsty skin, the lessons of the world can more easily slip in on us, with their honeyed breeze and deafening thunder storms.

The winter is our time to nestle in. Hibernate. Contemplate. Process.

So, get a blanket
Some old photos
(the ones in the show box on the shelf in your closet)
Make some tea.
   Watch the steam.
Love the ones you've lost.
Laugh at the times you've died..

It’s a time to reflect on things past with the wisdom they conferred upon you.
With gratitude.
and a new set of filters.

Now, to relate this to photography…

I began taking photographs because I suffer from an extremely inept memory. I would forget the little details that made a moment radiate, I would forget why I fell in love in the first place, I would forget the warm beam of morning light that seemed so divine, lambently touching the shoulder of a beautiful woman.

I am endlessly grateful for my camera, which has become an extension of my body in so many ways.

So with the biting blanket outside, I have been brought back to years worth of negatives, piles of moment-memorials that didn’t quite make the cut…. the first time.
Digging and digging and digging along this amazing road of remembrance, in hopes of unearthing lost photographic treasures.
I have been unbelievably satisfied with the things I have found.
(Like the image in this post)

It really just takes one photograph to pull you through a lucid daydream…
where the air of that memory touches your skin, the aroma wraps itself around you, and you can suddenly see 360 degrees in a place 7000 miles away.

I went looking for marble and I found some gold.
Whether it stirs anything in anyone but myself is irrelevant. I found some moments that I had forgotten.

So, a note to photographers, travelers, and those who like to daydream lucidly into the beauty of the past….

…don’t throw out your negatives. Ever. Maybe it doesn’t transport you now, but you never know when it will. Maybe you need the right combination of snow and tea and wool to transform mediocre into memorable, but let them live amongst each other in the chaotic memorial of your past.


Just as we photographers visit old negatives with newly developed techniques, we can all look at past experiences with newly gained wisdom. We can always continue to learn from our past experiences by taking time to view them in different light, from different focal lengths, at different exposures. We may see things we never saw before buried in the shadows or lost in the highlights.

The solstice is approaching
Happy Winter.

 



 

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