Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Blog

Bob Kidd and I met to photograph Yosemite, and we've kept in touch in the half-year since. We share some common interests that we both write about, and Bob recently asked me to contribute a post for his blog, Sunday Street. It seems eminently fair that he has a post for my blog in return: 

Bob Kidd is a self described cyclist, photographer and dreamer. He would have become a photo journalist, but his mother threatened to pull his college funding if he changed his major. Instead, he majored in English. He created the blog Sunday Street last year when he finally decided to do something with that English degree he got 40 years ago...
This his story...

Freezing Time

Blue Train - Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa

Photographs freeze moments in time and provide a window into the past for future generations. Before the dawning of the digital age, we connected with these moments by holding the pictures in our hands. Although sharing the images with others was somewhat limited, it is still special to open a family album and take a trip back in time.  As time passes, such photographs become more and more valuable. Photographs taken today will be treasures years from now.
In the image taken of my father riding the Blue Train in South Africa in the late 1930s, it will always be the time before WWII.  (Initially, I didn't realize he was in this picture until I recognized his smile under that stylish cap). And I never would have imagined my Dear Mother perched on top of some bloke's shoulders at the beach. These images provide many clues about our parents, before they were our parents...

Images of our own past, often from before we can remember, reveal many rich stories and, in my case, explain quite a bit...

There are times, places, and events that are suddenly brought back to mind, even when we haven't thought about them for ages...

6th grade

Summiting Mount Katahdin, 1971 (Ektachrome image (c) Robert Kidd photography, 2012)

These photographs contain more than memories. They provide us with a rich pictorial history of our families. I think about this whenever I view digital images. Where will those images be in 20 years or more and how will they be viewed? Wouldn't it be great if we could preserve these digital images somehow? can! Gamma Tech has found the perfect process and it will amaze you! Your digital images can be converted to film, archived in labeled binders, and stored on a shelf. Each binder will neatly contain a rich volume of your family history. In the likely event of a computer hardware failure, they will always be available for recovery.
Or, you could just shoot film.

Recently, I shot and scanned several rolls of Kodak Ektachrome film that had just expired. I enjoyed watching the results appear on my computer screen. The colors where rich and vibrant, and the images had a soulful feeling. I posted one of them to the Sunday Street page on facebook as the cover image. A short time later, I read on the Kodak web site that Ektachrome film had been discontinued.

I was stunned and, initially, could not believe that what I read could be true. Ektachrome was used for decades to bring us the amazing images found in National Geographic. It is the film my father-in-law shot in the 1960s in Austria,  in which he document the life and times of his family. It is also the first slide film I ever shot. Now it was discontinued. The loss was palpable. I was simply not prepared for the sun to set on this film.

I checked my refrigerated film stash and verified that I had 9 rolls of 35mm Ektachrome 100VS left, but none in medium format. What I had on hand was insufficient to fulfill one of my vision
quests: capturing iconic images from the US National Park system. I placed an order for more and held my breath that it was not too late to increase my supply, locate a 1958 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon, and talk Dave Wyman into joining me as we freeze time once more.

I now have 80 rolls of Ektachrome in my freezer (at this line, my editor got up from her desk, apparently to check something in the kitchen) and am starting to plan the Ektachrome National Park Road Trip. Who wants to go with me?

Thanks for stopping by.

You can follow Bob's film image quest on twitter (@BobKidd), facebook (robert.b.kidd) or Sunday Street, his blog.

1 comment:

Bob Kidd said...

Dave - thanks for letting me share a little bit of Sunday Street on your blog. I look forward to shooting with you again. - Bob