Today I’d like to tell you about the emotion of re-discovering long forgotten photos. The feeling is even greater if these are from the Icelandic adventure and ranges up to the most recent wanderings in Milan.
As the most diligent readers will surely remember, analog photography has always been a game of going back to the roots of photography for me.
It feels strange nowadays to shoot without promptly seeing the picture, and the developing process with all the chemicals and procedures feels like black magic compared to the istantaneous editing tools we are used to work with.
Maybe this is exactly what usually brings me back to the 35mm roll, the craft signature with which the development marks the photographs, and that feeling of forgotten memory evoked by the grain.
The first analog experiments I did were based on a medium format twin lens camera, then I slowly migrated to the cheaper and easier dad’s 35mm, which came with me to Iceland more than a year ago.
Coming back from that adventure I developed the exposed rolls, but a fresh roll remained in the camera and was easily forgotten in there.
I re-embraced that camera some weeks later, and went back shooting without even remembering which roll was inside (not even if it was a B&W or color one), and then another roll went inside, concluding the stash bought for Iceland. These rolls came with me for the last winter and spring, documenting some smaller adventures and daily moments of life.
But accompliced by the tyranny of a 5/10 job I really never found the time to wander to the closest dev-lab to finally have these photographs processed.
Luckily, some recent opportunities wrapped up and brought me frequently close to a lab in Milan, in which I finally had the chance to develop the rolls.
The results are grainy, and some dust polluted the surfaces. Also some light leaks burned the first shots. This, in addition of being a defect, is a trademark of honesty that signs the photo, making it essential. You lose the perfection that is often sought in digital, the result of constant search for the perfect view, of accounting every possible variable in the process, constantly monitored by some parameter on the viewfinder. With analog photography everything is just about capturing light, fixing an instant. Of course, you may have some sort of exposure indication (although it may be very challenging to rely on some instruments dated 30 or more years, as times consumes these devices), but there won’t be any exposure simulation/horizon guide/stabilization, …
Enough with these ruminations, enjoy these little rediscoveries.
There were two pictures of Selfoss, this vertical one and an horizontal one with some light leaks. I couldn’t believe these pictures were still to be developed and felt bad for having totally forgot about, but damn, how happy I was looking at these scenarios again.
It kinda retraced my wanderings of one year ago. After Iceland I brought my camera to Esino Lario and wandered for some days on these mountains.
These pictures are awful is you are looking for the perfectly defined shot, with crisp edges and correct exposure. But looking at these as if we were staring at a memory, everything seems fine.
We only recall few crisp details in a wider grainy panorama, like the red shiny color of some berries enlighted by the sun during the last hours of light or the first stars rising among the sunset. These details are swallowed by the overall rustness of the memory, but sparkle from its depths like lighthouses in the dark.
It was then time to start looking for a job, and these duties recalled me back from the mountains to the pollutted and jammed conurbation of Milan.
I always had a love/hate relationship with this city. If you come with hurry, ‘cause you have things to do and hands to shake this city is a complete madness, transports are kinda efficient, but everything’s frenetic and hurried up. But if you can just live your time in the city, letting it flow among you and being transported by these streams of people around the city, it (we should say she) reveals a sweeter and tender face. There are hundreds of forgotten sculptures wasted by the pollution, and there are so many hidden gems you would need a month or more just to see them all once.
This sort of duality always fascinated and freaked me out.
One of the usual tours I used to do included a quick chill in Parco Sempione, a strip of grass ranging from the Sforza’s castle to the Arch of Peace. Here a shy pond shelters ducks and people from the nearby confusion which lies beyond the castle.
This negative was confusing at first, I couldn’t distinguish between the reflection and the real sight and as I realized this, I concluded that this is exactly what I wanted to pass, that this upside-down negative is the way I look at Milan.
I’m attracted and rejected, I see the beauty and the rotten, one above the other, constantly switching side and chasing one another. An above and below that confuses and mix, all this on a forgotten film.
A quick wikipedia on this building, located nearby the main cathedral.
The façade covers a pre-existing bilding, and is dated 1466. This building was standing way before we even dreamed about America.
The color roll ended with these pictures, and the black one catched back starting from a daily wandering to the Monza Park. Some of these photographs are really messy, probably they had to push a bit the film and this resulted in this overcrisped look.
And surely you’ll also remember about the Odle workshop. This picture is the only analog picture taken in that lil’ adventure, and ofc it’s blurry.
The following is the result of some testing (and cleaning) on my father’s old 400mm telephoto lens, a full manual piece of glass and metal made by some subsidiary of Olympus back in the 80′.
The zooming is astonishing, and what could I want to capture from home with such an amazing telescope? The grigne!
This is the constant-calling sight I get to experience every day.
These two giants screaming to challenge them, to try them out.
The remaining pictures are scattered up to the first weeks of november, and capture vernacular moments of life in my hometown.
So, what’s next?
A walk in the darkness of a foggy mountain, waking up on the sound of trekking poles and pushing away some wild animals to prevent getting gored.
Sounds cool? Sounds scary af.