TK Roll 2015–16: Moving (Minolta XE-5 with MD 35/2.8 lens, Kodak Ektar 100)

There’s that moment when you get back a roll of film: you look through the images, and you pick the ones you like and the ones you don’t like. You hold the pictures, turn them around in your hands, and you are happy, elated even, or disappointed by how what you imagined they would be and what came out on film instead. You do this for every individual picture. Sometimes you linger, when there is an element in the photo that speaks to you somehow. You try to figure out just what it is. Maybe you can. Maybe you can’t.

At the end of this process, you put the prints aside. You grab the negatives, and the real work begins. The work of scanning and editing and sorting. The work that will lead to what you once saw and decided to capture in a very specific way to be posted on the internet, for all who might be interested to see.

More often than not, this work reveals things that weren’t apparent at first sight. Themes emerge only after you have looked at the images for a while: in succession, or next to each other on a screen or light table.

For this roll, the theme was moving. Motion. The act of going places, and being on the way. It wasn’t planned. It certainly hadn’t been on my mind when I took the pictures. But when I had preselected the images I wanted to use for my post, it became clear very quickly. These were photos of things in motion – of ships and planes and a ferris wheel.

But then, I wondered, what was that scene at the fair with the balloons still doing in the selection? There were people on the picture, certainly, and people hardly ever keep still. But there was something other than that: many of the balloons were shaped like cars or airplanes. Balloons that were filled with gas that would propel them to somewhere else that was not here were themselves shaped like the things that help us achieve the same. Even the image of the teddy bear hanging from a stand at the fair featured the contrails of a passing airplane. Everything moved. For the most part, the little stories I told myself about the people who wandered through these little scenes of life were benign: kids having fun up on a giant swing. A parked Porsche, poised to take off with its owner any minute. Motor bikes. Ships.

One image stood out, however. It is the second to last one. Nothing seemed to move here. It just shows some random items under a city bridge, and writing on the wall that translates as “Humans have to live here you pissing pigs!” It had been written by someone who was forced to be on the move because they had no home. Someone who had sought respite here and found none. And moved on.

4 thoughts on “TK Roll 2015–16: Moving (Minolta XE-5 with MD 35/2.8 lens, Kodak Ektar 100)

  1. I scan flat and then shy away from putting too much contrast back in. I’ve noticed you can get pretty much everything out of Ektar depending on how you scan/process it. Maybe some day I’ll feel like getting something more vibrant out of it 🙂


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