Tuesday, August 04, 2015

filling in the gaps

Today I discovered why my filing of negatives had appeared to start at a really random point in time. It seems that it wasn't 15yrs ago when I started this mission, but more like 24! I'd started with the latest film and worked backwards. So when I picked up the gauntlet 11yrs later I'd simply carried on where I'd left off!

It made me laugh to discover this, it all makes perfect sense now. Of course I started a really detailed filing system when I was in the middle of writing my dissertation - you couldn't get much more worthy in terms of procrastination, and far more satisfying than housework. It is also typical of me that I shoved something in a cupboard for years and then started it up again. It was around that same time that I finally finished a patchwork project that I'd had since secondary school. That now forms part of a cushion on the previously mentioned captain's chair! Thankfully my patchworking has never since been consigned to the 'pending...' pile for years on end.

One of today's bonus discoveries was the negative of a photo I took of my Grandad a few months before he died. I haven't had a copy of it for many, many years having given it to someone (Mum? Granny?) thinking I'd get a reprint done and then of course not getting around to it before the negative got buried too deep in the box to easily find. So finally I can fill the gap in my photo album and Granny will no longer be on that page on her own! Another loose end tied up. Plus I've found the negatives of the elusive JYM '88 photos that I'm really hoping are in the blanket box...

I'm already one box down, admittedly it's the smallest one, but it feels like a good start. There's something very satisfying about finally seeing a project through to completion (albeit that happy state is still a long way off!). I'm quite enjoying the elements of detective work involved in reuniting strips that had been taken out of their packet to get reprints done, back with the rest of the set they belong with. It is something of an eye opener to contemplate how much money I have spent on film and processing over the years too! That's probably responsible for a hefty chunk of my student overdraft and visa card being maxed out by the time I graduated.Thankfully most of the travel expenses to the various Quaker gatherings many of the photos are of were covered, otherwise I would've been living off lentils and bread from the half price bakery around the corner... oh wait, I already did.

So, after more years than I'd been alive when I started this, I'm reconstructing about a 23yr section of my life, give or take a film reel or two. Trying to put things back into chronological order (if anyone has suggestions as to how to date several entire films worth of photos of the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, with no recognizable people in to assist in this matter, they would be gratefully received!). You know life would be so much easier if I could settle for being either extremely organized or haphazard (but usually with a system of sorts - like a box, or four, with negatives in... in no particular order), but I never seem to be able to stick with just one. Not only is this project cataloging a substantial chunk of my life, but the entire endeavour reflects me in other ways too: as a person, a photographer, a documenter of events, and no doubt other things I'm too tired to think of right now. It does make me wonder if in years to come when someone comes across the end result (assuming I ever finish it!) what assumptions they would then make about me - I don't for a moment expect that to be accurate!

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