I’ve learned to project myself into future moments, recognizing an instant before its instant. This is because of film’s greatest limitation, an absolute end. It’s not possible to carry around infinite rolls of film. So at some point, you will eventually run out of shots. This forces one to practice waiting for the decisive moment, because inevitably, one day it will come down to one shot, like a sniper with a single bullet. Instead of shooting to kill, one shoots to create. Digital never has that last shot, it is that infinite roll of film. Less time is spent looking at the subject and more time is spent wildly firing like a marine with a machine gun. Throw enough lead and eventually you will hit something. Even with the flash card full, I can delete in-camera for more room.
For me, deleting is the cardinal of all photography sins. Tossing out individual digital frames is much easier than cutting from a strip of film. Thus, I find myself trashing images before I ever give them a second thought. Throwing away photography is to throw away history and evolution. To do so is foolish, especially when the choices are made based upon vain opinions towards things like composition, aesthetics, focus and clarity. Those elements of photography are purely subjective and contextual to time and place, not defined by any true set of rule or measure. The only truth that matters is documentation of the moment. It reigns above all else because the moment captured is forever lost in space-time, impossible to revisit except through the photograph. It’s as if the photograph becomes a tangible database for the mind to store memories in while keeping room for new ones at home.
When looking back into my photographic library, I can relive each frame to almost its full original reality. I can feel the sun on my shoulders, hear the shutter click. The moment never changes, it’s ongoing forever and I can revisit it at any time. I too often look back and find new gems that I once thought were just rocks. New ideas spawn from old angles. With digital, there are too many frames to go through and those boring blue folders on my hard drive entitled Skate, Portrait, Event, Travel and so on just aren’t as alluring as those binders on my bookshelf filled with contact sheets and positives. They become books themselves, only the words are written in silver halide crystals and the story is up to the lookers’ interpretation.
So, with all of that said, this is an homage to the past to be revisited in the present. A time of uncertainty, experimentation and throw-aways that weren’t, when not knowing was half the excitement and the once thought mistakes have transformed into wisdom. For leaving behind a tangible moment that will last an eternity short of physical destruction and for those tangible moments, despite all of the possible reproductions, to forever exist as the only original story inscribed in silver halide.