Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Among the family papers and items I brought back from the old house was a tightly packed sheaf of paper rolls, all of them from my father's photography in 1959 to 1962. I knew they existed from earlier explorations but I had not seen them all. Now I am unrolling these cylinders and looking at what is on them. I am also scanning and digitizing all of them to have a record of the images whether I have other prints or not.

These are "contact prints," which in the era of film was the best way to view fresh new photo sessions all at once. You took the developed film and laid it on heavy coated photographic paper, pressed it down with a slab of glass, and used a bright light or your enlarger to make a photo print. These were the results of countless snapshots, all black and white, that my father and mother took as we lived in Rome and toured Europe in our Volkswagen bus.

I know I have the negatives of at least some of these somewhere, so I don't have to rely on the contact print. Some of these photos were taken on my mother's miniature Minolta-16 camera and the negatives are very small. I hope that I can find a way to digitize all of these images or at least the better preserved ones. 

This drawing depicts individual unrolled scrolls of ancient images (1959-1962) after I scan them and drop them on the floor. You can see the dark prints on one side of the heavily curled paper. I nicknamed them the "Dead Sea Scrolls." Unlike the holy texts though, eventually I may discard the contact prints, which is what usually happened to them after the photo session was done.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 6" x 3 1/2", November 16, 2016.

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