It is possible to think of each old photograph as a step into history. If it is a photograph of unknown people in unknown places, it is, by definition, a step into the unknown with all the uncertainty and potential for excitement that implies. If it is a photograph you are familiar with - or better still, a photograph you took decades ago - it is a step into more familiar territory, rich in clues to memories that have long been in a state of hibernation. If it is a strip of negatives (photographs that are linked together by celluloid certainty) it is not a step, but a walk through history. Scanning a long forgotten strip of negatives from forty or fifty years ago is like walking backwards through time and one of my favourite occupations.
A Hot Day In York
It was a hot day in York, many years ago. I suspect it was sometime in the 1980s - the fashions and the cars look right for that period. I can vaguely remember walking around the streets, camera in hand, looking for photographs, but the memory is as hazy as the heat rising from the warm stone sets. The narrow streets were as busy as they always are in York, but this would have been the era before shopping malls and retail parks. People were drawn to the central shops, drawn to the river bank, drawn to the street entertainers, and drawn to a cooling pint or two.