Just recently, I was working on cleaning up some pictures of photos of my Nana that were taken when she was 16-22. She was born around 1904ish; so, that would make them circa 1920-1926(ish). She was, indeed, a dancer and, living in that era, even, a flapper (though, I've never seen a picture of her with a bob.)
Anyway, I love the patina of an old photograph - the soft focus - the watery feel of the old-time equipment that was, back then, touted as the very latest. Yet, there is a bit of grime that clouds and mars the image and, as I was working very, very closely with the picture to clean it up a little, I started to take note of what I really could see - the wrinkle of the satin on the 'slippers', the weave of the tattered rug, the canvas and paint on the theatrical backdrop, the grain in the wood of the seat and the, oh, so familiar slight frizz in her hair that has been passed down to my mother and I. After a couple of days of the like, I began to get the curious sense that I was really looking through a window into a frozen moment in time. I mean, I know that sounds so cliche and obvious but hear what I'm saying - I was time traveling! I was seeing a moment of my Nana's life that was way before I was ever even a thought - back when she was young - YOUNG - and all that goes with it - hopes, fears, the beginning of experience - all that! There was the very light of that moment - frozen - the air, the dust, the interaction between photographer and subject - happening still.... silently... unmoving.... but still happening - now.
I guess that's what a photograph is all about - it's a window that, at it's best, will transport us for a moment.
Well! It's hard to quite explain but something about my understanding of life shifted and deepened through the experience. I genuinely feel like I have a different connection with her and a different understanding of history and time. Yes! A very curious feeling!
In this set of photographs, I was trying to capture the same feeling - to express the same quality of those vintage photographs, except (mostly) in color.