In 1974 my dear late father brought back from Europe a collection of ready-made 35mm colour slides. These were professional photographs depicting places of interest that he was presumably unable to capture himself. I recently scanned and printed these images with a view to exhibiting the collection as an art installation.
Because of their age the slides have faded into a variety of outlandish hues. They were shot on colour films that have proved unstable, Ferrania, Agfa etc, the only brand resisting change being Kodachrome – its colours are perfectly intact. The slides have slipped from their cardboard mounts, collected dust and hairs, and acquired scratches and fingerprints. All these signs of decay have transformed the images from their ordinary purpose as souvenirs into something luminous and new.
One thought on “Dad’s slides”
Very interesting body of work and the installation sounds wonderful.
I love the way the colours of these photographs have shifted and faded in unpredictable ways, testament to both their outmoded (analogue) material base and time’s inexorable decay. Their patchy kitschy colours are a bit like those of childhood plastic toys left out in the sun, or old clothes found in an op-shop that have already been used for house painting or garden work.
Somehow these slides are redolent of the kind of shift that happens when one not only recalls intensely a long-forgotten memory but also has a deep flash of an attendant sense of time lost and details forgotten.
They remind me of the faded photos of a distant holiday or ‘home country’ that we might encounter casually pinned-up somewhere – a barbershop, a domestic fridge, a classroom – that evoke a sense of displacement and strangeness. We know the image once held special significance to the person who pinned it there but we can’t help but acknowledge how secondhand, how remote, how much like a tourist our own interest in it is likely to be.
Hi Greg – I’m enjoying your website. Thanks for adding a link to my site. I’ll happily return the favour when I next do an update. I’m living in Wiesbaden, Germany, these days. Just a 30 min train trip to/from Frankfurt airport, so let me know if you’re ever in the region and have time for a coffee or visit to a museum.