I don’t have old negatives. I don’t really have an archive of long forgotten images that would tell me anything about my former self as a seeing person. I do have cases with old slides though, but I don’t think they are about seeing, they are about remembering. Places, mostly. I don’t think they tell me much about me.
I’m probably the looking back kind of person. What went wrong, why did I make that choice, how could I have done this differently. What if. I don’t make future plans, I never think ahead more than a couple of months. I’ve never been planning my life, I don’t think I ever knew how to do that, or why. I guess that’s what got me where I am now, which is nowhere in particular, really.
With photography, it’s different. I don’t look back much on what I’ve done. I do look at the tail of my flickr stream occasionally, which in its entirety is a fairly accurate recording of my relatively short picture taking life. I see improvement, relapse, idleness, hastiness, awkwardness, self-confidence, consistency. I see pictures I still love and pictures that I find boring, but I don’t see a significant change of perspective. I guess I haven’t built much of a history yet. I don’t have a former self.
I’m too old to think that tomorrow will be any different from today. To think that I could be a better person than before. I can’t, and I’m not even sure anymore that I have to. My picture taking is still young. It’s a five year old, and it has plans. Well, no, not plans, but it still believes it can do better the next day. It feels adventurous (although it really isn’t) and it thinks that one day it will be able to do something different, something exciting. It probably won’t, but it’s the belief that counts.
Words in response to Th.’s. Picture taken with the Fuji, 2015. Title borrowed from Jia Zhangke’s film.