When I Was Seventeen

I learned today that scanning old prints that were archived on slides, is awful! What a waste. If I cannot use a darkroom to personally manipulate old negatives to get the prints I want…forget about it. These were the first of a small set of negatives I kept from my early photography years that I just paid $ to have them made into jpegs. I repeat, what a waste.

However, now I can close that chapter of my life. I can move forward confidently with digital and be completely committed to it as a simple and efficient technology. I don’t handle or breathe in wet chemicals (bonus!), but with my RAW images I can perform the minor darkroom exposure manipulating I always did: contrast, sharpness, and white balance/exposure. I can do it in the digital darkroom with my camera software (no need for photoshop) and I’m done. I can still have prints made. I can have perfect representations of those prints archived in a myriad of file types and I can share them with you much more easily with almost complete visual honesty as to how the image translates from paper to screen.

The only downside is the new galaxy of visual vernacular photography taken by the everyday shooter. It really saturates the field of photographic exploration quickly and makes once-beautiful imagery a bit tired and overused. Like the word, God and Love…sometimes the perfect words…but often overused and therefore empty of sacred meaning. That is my only beef with digital technology.

Anyway….The images were taken purely instinctually, no real thought or planning. Just hanging out in the woods with a friend.

The other two are of a best friend in my dorm room (Quaker boarding high school).

…and the final shot is of this boy who I secretly worshipped. He was a quiet nerd and English was his foreign language. He wore this headband around all the time. I’m not even sure where he was an exchange student from…but I finally got up the courage to ask him to take this portrait and he said yes, but nothing else. I’m not sure he understood anything else I babbled at him. I was really into Richard Avedon’s Wild West series at the time…so this was my attempt at portraiture like that. I shied away from chasing down peculiar looking characters and photographing them after this, but I sooo desired it.

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