Sometimes I make rash decisions. I get an idea in my head and there is no going back. I may do some research, or I may not. But my mind gets set and there’s no turning back.
Yesterday, I thought I might want a scanner that you feed the photos into rather than a flatbed one. I’ve had many a flatbed and they’ve all just been so time-consuming. Take the picture out, lay it flat, hit scan, wait as it processes, crop the picture, edit the picture, save as. For someone who has over 25 albums of photos that have not been digitized, two binders full of negatives that have never even been printed, and a fulltime job, I need efficiency.
So I started browsing online to see my options. As I presumed, this product was available. And with negative scanning capabilities! And it scans directly to an SD card! And it auto crops! But every place I looked: PRODUCT NOT IN STOCK. Just before it was time to leave work (yes I was searching while at work), I found it for $30 cheaper than other places and IN STOCK at a nearby Staples. Of course, I got in my car and headed straight there only to find the better model (up to 8x10s!) for the exact price as the one I was looking for (4×6). So, I got it. Of course. (FYI, it’s the Kodak P811 Personal Photo Scanner.)
And now here it is, the morning after. My neck is stiff from sitting in one position feeding prints, and then negatives, into the machine. I am tired. I had to force myself into bed at midnight, after getting royally creeped out from the stuffed bulldog atop my fireplace breaking into “Mele Kalikimaka” BY ITSELF without being touched. All in all, one photo album (24+ to go!) and 13 rolls of black and white film, processed by me in the darkroom in college, (55 to go! Who knows how many rolls of color to go!) are now sitting on my computer, already organized into folders my album or roll, ready for further organization.
The scanned prints are great, but it’s the negatives that hold the magic.
As I sat there feeding in negative after negative, I was getting excited. Most of these negatives I’d never seen go past the contact sheet! Afterall, darkroom photography is EXPENSIVE. (Side thought: how the HELL did I afford all that film and paper?! I didn’t use credit at that time!) But here they were, all these memories I had no idea even existed flashing across my computer screen after I plugged in the SD card. It’s been long enough (almost NINE YEARS) that it was like opening a forgotten time capsule. The quality is not great by FAR (especially due to my “beginner” status in both processing film and shooting–UNDEREXPOSED! OVEREXPOSED!), but the memories are there. As I type this, I am struggling to think of anything else to do tonight other than sit there feeding the machine. And I bet you that is just what I will do. (Unless someone wants to come over to just hang out and listen to records or watch Netflix while I do so. I can multi-task, you kn0w.)
My over-documentation through the lens of the past has become my present, and for the time being I am just fine with that.
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