My Vivian Maier Moment

Earlier in the year, I found a roll of 120mm T-Max film under the stove – along with a few cat toys and a tube of chapstick. I imagine my cat grabbed it out of a camera bag at some point and rolled it under there, thinking it was a toy.

There were a few strange things about the film. It looked really old, and it was a kind of film I don’t shoot. It was labeled “Laura Valenti #4” – but I don’t label my film. Mysterious! So, I brought it in to get processed.

When I got it back a few days later, I was shocked to see images I remember taking – in 1994 or 1995. Despite being close to 20 years old (and despite spending some time under a stove) the negatives looked like they’d been exposed yesterday. I think the roll was labeled "#4" because it was the fourth roll of film I ever shot through a medium format camera. I’ve been smiling to myself thinking of this old film discovery as my “Vivian Maier Moment.”

This morning, I finally got around to scanning the negatives. Most of the images on the roll were from a high school photography trip to Port Townsend, WA. I remember feeling really cool because I was the student leader on the trip. There is the classic “I’ll take a picture of you, taking a picture of me” moment, some experimental (likely unintentional) double exposures, and my favorite – a photograph of my dad, reclining in the sun. What a nice moment. 19 years later, Pop is going through chemo and has lost his hair. It’s nice to see this relaxed, happy image of him, taken so many years ago. What a handsome guy.

Looking at these old photos is a bit emotional. So much has changed! Life is speeding along and we're all getting older. It’s a reminder to appreciate the moments we have available to us now. I feel lucky that I’ve spent 20 years of my life making images of the people and places I’ve loved. I hope to spend many more doing the same.

I'll take a picture of you taking a picture of me! A fellow student. 

I'll take a picture of you taking a picture of me! A fellow student. 

A contemplative moment (with a weird double exposure, or a ghost, coming through on the bottom right). 

A contemplative moment (with a weird double exposure, or a ghost, coming through on the bottom right). 

Ooo - so artsy!

Ooo - so artsy!

Pop. Enjoying the sun.

Pop. Enjoying the sun.