One of the interesting things that’s come about from me scanning all these old negatives (still going!), is that I notice I had taken a lot of photos off, and to the side. Sometimes it’s the best choice – like this photo I think. Other times I find myself thinking, I wish I had taken this closer or this one should have been taken dead on, or some kind of combination of the two.
We all grow, so that’s part of it, but it makes me wonder if maybe I was too nervous to get up close, or if I thought this was the better way to take this photo at the time. I honestly can’t recall. I do know I’m finding myself going “damn, this would have been better if…”. On the flip side, it’s nice to be able to have a decade plus (almost two in some cases) of distance to give my own photos a critical eye. I think it’s especially valuable as I took such a long break and am getting back to it; it’s a good opportunity to learn.
This photo specifically is taken with my Windsor (which is a Diana clone), sometime in 2004 using Kodak Portra Ultra Color 400. Despite my lamenting above of off and to the side shots, this one works. I love the way blue and green sometimes look together in a single shot, especially on a high saturation film stock. I also like the little pulled back curtain in the window in the centre of the frame. This is another shot from when I was living in Vancouver, and I find myself often wondering if these places are still around. The area that I lived in at the time looks so different now; if you plopped me down in the middle of it and I didn’t know better, I don’t think I’d know where I was. When I lived there it was old, rather busted up, and starting to really go through the very beginnings of gentrification. Last time I was there I drove through and it looked like the process had been completed; lots of ugly condos that all looked the same and “gastro-pubs” (or whatever they’re calling them).
Gone was my hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon with typos on the menu, and the weird laundromat with Mortal Kombat and Mrs. Pacman that I had to go to because I didn’t have a washer or dryer in my basement suite. I’m sure the weird chintzy not-quite-dollar store is long gone too, which is where I got my favourite mixing bowl ever (and still use, although it will imminently crack, I’m just waiting for the day).