Bad Photography and Good Memories

Fira, Santorini

It poured rain today, so I finally embarked on a chore I’ve been avoiding–going through old photos.  I have five or six file boxes full of envelopes with prints and film in them, going back for several pre-digital years.  One of my friends advised me to winnow them down to just the ones I care about and pitch the rest, which makes the task of scanning the remaining photos more manageable.

I only made it through one box so far, which seemed to cover pieces of 1997 through 2000.  My trip to Australia and New Zealand in 1998 was not in there, but every Christmas was.  Glancing through the photos made it clear that I was a terrible photographer in those days.  I took a million pictures of statues, castles, museums, and monuments.  The only ones I recognize now are the David in Florence and the radio/TV tower in Berlin.  I took a great one of my late partner Ron in which it looks like the tower is coming out the top of his head.

In the bad old days you had to take rolls and rolls of film to get a few usable shots, and that was just the norm.  It didn’t help that it took me years to learn not to have the sun behind your subject (they will be dark) and a little bit about composition (frame the shot, or make sure your subject of interest is to one side, forming a kind of triangle).  There are so many shots of people that I don’t remember, or places where I spent too much time taking pictures and not enough being there, taking in the moment.

I swear I have some better ones in the other boxes (at least, I hope I do!).  But even some of the bad ones made me remember some times I hadn’t thought about in a while, like when all of us sisters surprised Juanita on her 60th birthday.  Her husband Larry flew us all in from around the country so we could go out for dinner and a limo ride through Washington D.C. at night.   Then there was the ’70s party at a company sales meeting.  Hmm, maybe some of those photos would be good for blackmail (just kidding).  It’s interesting to watch my hair, weight, and clothing change.  Whoever came up with pleated jeans as a fashion statement should be shot.

The photo above was taken in Fira on Santorini sometime in the ’90s.  The donkeys are carrying passengers and goods up from the harbor where the cruise ships dock.  It’s a pretty good picture.  I think Ron must have taken this one.

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