The mark of Dwayne

Rose-tinted Kodachrome

In my studio, well, spare bedroom, I have plan chest. It has six drawers each filled with an assortment of odds and sods. It is split in to two sections, three draws in each. The bottom most is filled with drawings, mainly life studies, A1 with a few A2 size mixed in. The next up, more drawings, prints, paintings from my time at Art College and university, atop the pile is a selection of magazines which have featured some of my photographs. The next drawer, design work, more drawings and photographic prints then a break that supports the top three.

The top three are less exciting in their contents, the bottom one contains unused cartridge paper, cutting mat, sundries waiting to be used. The fifth an assortment of external hard drives, cables and USB sticks. Objects I use every day. The final drawer is an assortment of books, DVDs, video cassettes, a copy of any media that has contained my work over the years as well as a load of negs and slides I’ve not properly filed. Photographs I have forgotten about.

Over the years I have shot hundreds of bouts, thousands of skaters of all skill levels. I have all the images filed away on various hard drives scattered around the house. I don’t have a photographic memory in fact I am shit with names but images are a different matter. I amazed at how often I am contacted by someone requesting an image from two, three, four, or more, years ago, and whether it’s my memory or excellent filing system I can retrieve them without much fuss.

I don’t know why digital files are easier to recall than film or slides, perhaps it’s because I work with them every day so they are to mind, but there is always that nice feeling when I open that top drawer, pick out a box of slides, hold them up to the light one by one. I am always surprised by the unexpected, the forgotten, images I had filed away.

Slides are so much nicer then negatives and digital files, the colours more saturated. The eye straining to take in all the details in a space only  35mm by 24mm, which is brimming with  colour and possibility. The act of holding each to the light, one at a time, gives them a fleeting, ephemeral feel, only existing for a few seconds before they are returned to the container.

Which brings me back to Dwayne.  Dwayne, the person who processed my last roll of Kodachrome. Simon and Garfunkel sung about the film, the saturated colours, the warmth, a feeling I don’t get with digital. The demise of Kodachrome is the mark of Dwayne. The death of the days when images were so much more precious.


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