On my last night at home, I flipped through my photo scrapbooks. For about ten years, 1992 – 2004, I took analog photos that I printed, cropped with a paper cutter, annotated, and mounted on large archival pages.
In these scrapbooks, I survey ten years of study: Amherst, Orange County, Edinburgh, London, Stanford, Austin; ten years of travel: Hawaii, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mexico, England, Europe; ten years of adventures: Stanford Marching Band, Burning Man, 6th Street Austin, California beaches; and ten years of awkwardness.
I looked so different back then when I was 20-32 years old. My hair was shorter, my face flatter, my body skinny as a fence post, my clothes preppy balloons, my posture uncertain, my enthusiasm infectious but shy. I’m not sure I respect now the person I was back then.
As young man in my twenties, I did not like to be photographed or photograph others. Neutron bombs obliterated people from my photographs. I finally grew up in my late thirties when I got to San Francisco. Now I wear better either my mother’s interesting wave of hair or a wise confidence. I feel more attractive at forty than at twenty.
Still, all those former selves support who I am now. As I look back, that 1992-2004 period bursts with amazing adventures, exploration, and friends. I had so much energy and so much life then that I’m now awed, chastened, and motivated by that curious, awkward guy.
My photographs help separate the important from the superficial. It was the friends and the events that made that period wonderful and not the lonely wanders through rainy Arundel. I felt then that if I had just seen enough, that amassed record of travel would count for a life worth remembering.
Going forth, I want to add to those photographs. Analog photography has tactile immediacy and longevity absent from digital that gets lost in the cloud. If I don’t shoot analog anymore, I can still print digital photos.
I want to bring friends together for more journeys. It is going to be an exciting time. I will invite along that intrepid young traveler in his twenties.