I’ve spent a lot of time recently digging through boxes of old photos, and the other day I came across the photographs I took in 2004 when I was studying in Mexico as part of an art history class.
At the time I enrolled in the class, the only cameras I owned were the nice SLR my dad had given me when I graduated from high school, and a cheap plastic point-and-shoot that took 4 photos in one second and compiled them all into one frame. Traveling with the SLR was more difficult than it is with digital, and I couldn’t depend on the plastic camera for travel documentation, so I had asked my dad for another camera for Christmas.
The resulting gift was a Nikon L35 point-and-shoot camera, and I packed it, along with 6 rolls of film, in my carry-on for the trip. I’ve owned many cameras in my life, and the L35 is still one of my favorites. It was, at the time, a fairly compact camera (the claim no longer holds up now that you can get cameras practically the size of your bank card), and it is sturdy and reliable. The photos I got on that trip came back from the developers crisp and clear, with vivid colors and strong black and white contrast.
I decided the other day to scan a few of my favorite photographs from that trip and play around with them in photoshop. Mexico has a long and interesting history, and some of the photos I took could have been from any time in the last few hundred years. The intentional aging adds to the perceptual confusion of time. I would love to see these photographs printed on 18” x 24” sheets of watercolor paper with soft, torn edges, displayed on a gallery wall without a frame. I plan to make a series of a dozen or more of these photos, but for now I’m going to share just the first few. If you have never been to Mexico, I hope these can transport you there now.