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Perhaps we need a new forum on the site as there seems to be recent spate of home archaeology projects that are yielding wonderful ancient finds.
Keith for example has been sharing his treasure trove of seventy-five year old rediscovered images shot by a relative who traveled his own backyard in the South Pacific and far and beyond.
Another RFF member (apologies; I can't remember who it was; someone help me out here; this is embarrassing) then found some 75-year old negatives of his own and has also been sharing them with us (sorry; I searched the site using that nifty new Google search another member put up last week; again, I can't remember which of you did that, but thanks; it's great).
A few months ago I came across some 25-year old+ contact sheets of mine. Well, tonight, I hit the jackpot, finally locating the darned negatives from which those contact sheets were made.
They were not, as I feared, damaged in a household flood. They appear to have escaped both high and dry. Mine reflect New York (primarily) in the early 1980's. I was younger and (believe it or not) dumber than I am now. This was before having kids turned me into a snapshot photographer for a decade and a half. Almost everything was shot with my first Leica (an M4), with 35 and 50 DR Summicrons and a 90 Tele-Elmarit bought from Olden's Camera and paid for with the proceeds from a small workmen's compensation claim (the source of my life-long ruined spine).
The images are pretty much as I remember them. I am surprised that, inexperienced as I was in my early 20's with photography, that my eye was better in some ways than it was for the next 20 years or so (that snapshot thing; getting the kids to sit still, etc.). Perhaps it was that I didn't know any better and everything I saw in New York fascinated me (being a native Chicagoan).
One of things that's brought me back to photography with some earnestness in the past two or three years was the remembrance of these negatives and the hope that I'd actually find them someday. When I found the contact sheets, I was delighted and I've actually shared some scans from them here. Obviously the quality was pretty poor given the medium (and some of those sheets were
damaged in our basement).
Right now, one of the delights and adrenaline rushes from this discovery earlier this evening is that I can now actually scan and print these pix and remind myself how much I've changed and how much New York has changed since I shot these.
Anyway, perhaps we ought to have a sub-forum on RFF, maybe in the Salon Forum, for archaeologic digs like this. I'll bet that many of you have some wonderful work (and like me, probably some embarrassingly bad work, too) that you'd like to share in this context. I know for example that charjohncarter has put up some great images dating back at least to the 1930's from his dad's stash of pix. I'm itching to ask my own father to give me all of his negatives that he shot in Chicago in the 1950's and 60's (my current avatar is just one of his pix, probably from about 1962).
I've got my first roll from this project on the scanner as I'm typing. I'll post some of the more "interesting" results here.
In 27 or 28 years one thing I can definitely say that I've learned photography-wise is that I now shoot with my right eye. Although my left eye is dominant, when I got an M8 I finally decided it was time to see how the other half lives and I taught myself to switch eyes. I guess this was due to getting tired of squinching up my nose against the camera back and then seeing nose grease on the damned display. Anyway, now I can actually walk with an M at my right eye with my other eye open, thus finally taking advantage of the ability of rangefinders to let you take in more of the scene than an SLR when you're composing.