Image This If You Can!
On the last and final trip to my Father’s house last Sunday, l brought back a few things – a framed painting of a Malaysian sunset painted in 1969 by a local artist in Penang, a few more books, a few CDs and DVDs, a couple of tiger prints, a few soft toys and a couple of photo albums and 5000 surplus photos that were in a drawer in the utility room where Dad kept most of his 207 photo albums.
I think it’s safe to say that photography was one of my Father’s special interests – of course he had many, but the sheer volume of photographs present was frightening. What my Sister hopes to achieve by having 205 photo albums is quite beyond me, and more importantly where she is going to actually physically store them is another mind boggler – with each album comprising an average width of 3″ she has over 600 inches of photo albums if they were all standing side by side of each other on a shelf – not that a single commercial shelf could hold them all – the sheer weight would topple and collapse.
600″ of side by side photo albums is 50 feet. Each album held on average 75 photos, so he had roughly 15000 photos in albums – staggering isn’t it? Because they were NOT in his computer but he actually had them printed off in a printers. He had a thing with quantity – quantity was more of a status symbol to him. Never mind the actual cost of printing off the photos themselves.
My Father never thought once about the cost of these things ever, he never thought twice about the expense when the family couldn’t afford it, and when he could afford it he never once thought of the wasted monies just so he could line all of his 200+ photo albums.
There was a time when he wasn’t a bad photographer – but l think in the last five years or so his talent or skill had depleted, and he had a very shaky hand, and didn’t concentrate upon what he was actually capturing on film, he just pointed and clicked.
I have his camera here and it’s an expensive camera, but because he failed to take care of it, it’s worthless. In good nick it would fetch perhaps £600 but l had it valued and they said it wasn’t even worth £30 as it had been badly treated. Why am l not surprised?
However, l as said brought back with me 5000 images that l found in a drawer, next to another drawer that held the negatives. I didn’t bring those back.
I started sifting through these photos on my return on Sunday, and today l think l have maybe around 1500 left to sort through. But of those 3500 sorted, l have only managed to salvage roughly 50 images. The rest are blurred, out of frame, taken in shadow or bright sunlight and a host of other problems associated with poor photography and have been thrown away.
I fail to understand why he even had the negatives in the first place, because instead of looking through those, all he did was take each roll of film to the lab and had everything printed off, and sometimes he would have five images exactly the same printed off. So far l can say of the 3500 images l have looked at nearly 10% are copies of one image. They served no purpose what so ever except to live in a pine dresser’s drawer to be forgotten about?
5000 images that need not have been printed off and had no place of honour inside an album, to eek out the rest of their days in a drawer?
I am struggling to understand the logic of this madness. But then l am also struggling to understand the madness of his daughter wishing to have 15000 photos which she doesn’t have room for in her house as well?