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Defrosted Film – Why?

Once upon a time I carried a camera with me where ever I went. Starting in 1998 I had my trusty Canon AE 1 SLR with a 50mm lens in my hands a good deal of the time (bought for me by my wife who felt I needed a distraction – boy did she come to regret that). Eventually I added a Nikon F3 HP, a Leica R5, a Rolleicord twin lens reflex and Voigtlander R2 rangefinder to my list of cameras.

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I shot a lot of film and depending on my financial status – frequently in the “poor” bracket – or my level of laziness, a lot of that exposed film ended up in the freezer, wrapped in a succession of zip lock bags and tape, waiting for the day when I would get around to having it processed. I never did and the mestastasizing bag of film grew and grew as it travelled from freezer to freezer, apartment to house, to condo, across country to Chicago and back to Los Angeles. That bag split off and became two bags of film. Suggestions were made to chuck the bags since we were having trouble putting food into the freezer. These suggestions were ignored, and domestic strife morphed into the mockery of one spouse (me) by the other (my wife) and said spousal inability to give up on a hopeless cause.

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After almost ten years of this, I resolved to deal with the black and white film (it’s vastly simpler to process) and set about clearing out at least a half of the 150 plus rolls of film that had been accumulated. Emboldened by this (and a period of employment) I took the color film and had that processed too. In early 2014 I had the final slide film processed, my freezer was emptied of film and a 13 year ordeal had come to an end.

I began to scan the pictures – entire years of my son’s life that seemed to have no photographic record were rediscovered – and to think about what to do with all these pictures. How can I inflict them upon an unsuspecting world? Hmmm.

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Initially I thought I’d do something called “Los Angeles: Night and Day”, you know, because I have a sense of drama. But while a lot of the pictures are taken in Los Angeles during the day (shocking) and a few at night (gasp) that title ignored the fact that I have taken pictures in Chicago, various parts of England and France, and a lot of shots in the Southwest, not to mention pictures of things that are not Los Angeles, nor night or day. Also, there’s the fact that while the photographs are of dubious artistic merit, they do have some interest as “found” images – albeit found in my freezer, and forgotten largely because I was too recalcitrant to process them in a timely manner. Finally, these are photographs taken using film. When I started taking pictures digital formats were very much in their infancy (or too expensive for the regular person to afford). There was no cell phone snap-shot-selfie-panorama. There was no Instagram/Tumblr etc etc. Over the course of those 13 years film has faded away (sorry, couldn’t resist), while the digital image has become predominant, unavoidable and unarguably convenient — whether the digital image is better than the photochemical process I leave for you to decide, and certainly do not present my unfrozen images as an argument one way or another.

So here on this website I present the photos that were literally frozen in time and are now thawed out: the good, the bad, the indifferent, the “oh not another damn sunset”, the WTF, and the “who cares” of it all.

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