Time traveling exists. It’s called photography.
I experienced this while, making the most of the confinement time, I decided to scan some of my old and sometimes forgotten negatives and slides… without a scanner.
I might come back with the technical details in another blog post. But, for now, I’d like to discuss about the impressions I felt.
I was suddenly propelled in the middle of the 90s, when I started to dive into photography more seriously than before. At that moment, in parallel to my literature studies, I started to work for a small newspaper (another subject I might develop later).
After the university, I could attend a prestigious photo school in Paris and then was hired by a photo lab where I worked at night.
So, I had the day for me. And I took profit of this time to shoot Paris.
And, boy, what a ride.
The city was much different then than when I left it 3 years ago.
And the photos I started to dig up showed this period. Or, to be more precise, it showed the way I saw it.
I consider myself as both an artist and an artisan, without ranking these two status, neither bragging about it. It’s just the way I feel it.
And if uncovering my old films revealed the frenzy I experienced at that time –I was shooting everything : portraits, architecture, events, demonstrations– a kind of artistic process and a pattern of thought appeared in the chaos.
I must say that my present me is very disappointed of how bad sometimes my photos were then, driving me in a state of despair about my skills as a photographer.
But, among all the trash appeared sometimes a long lost jewel. And in the process of choosing which image to scan, I started to gather one by one some raw gems almost unknown to myself.
It’s a very strange experience, almost like searching in the past of someone else.
But then I realized this person was me, and I did that. I took these shots. I was there, facing these people, jumping, crouching, running to get the best angle.
And all came back. The good and the ugly. The joys and the dark times.
We are all made of that. But we rarely have the opportunity to look back and travel in time to measure the distance traveled.
And photography allows just that.
Analog times are precious for this. No need to switch on any computer, smartphone, and dig in files and folders. It’s just there, under your eyes, on paper, on gelatin films.
People long time gone, younger versions of you and family, friends, strangers, everybody is there, looking at you.
If your memory is like mine, unable to remember why I just went to the kitchen, but able to recite without missing a beat a song of an advertisement of the 80s, this is priceless.
Time has no price.
And you can time travel.