In 1988 Sue and I visited friends of her’s in Morocco. My memories, to be frank, are not great: I’d never been abroard before, it was very different to anything I’d seen in my life, it was very hot, and I got food poisoning (the only time I was happy to get on an airplane and be presented with cardboard food processed to within an inch of it’s life was on the way home). But I took a lot of photos, which in the days of film meant less than it did now but definitely a fair few rolls of, I suspect, Kodacolour II.
These got sorted through and the best 80 put into a flip album of the trip: 80 being chosen because it’s the number of pockets in the album rather than for artistic or philosophical reasons. The rest went into a file box where they’ve sat for the past 31 years, and I doubt I’ve looked through the album more than half a dozen times. Quite often I get an old negative out and scan it to put it on my blog or Instagram, and I found myself wondering three things about the Morocco trip
- If I were picking now, would I pick the same images as the strongest?
- What do they look like scanned from the negatives and digitally processed rather than the somewhat bland prints from Supersnaps I got back in ’88?
- Back then I sequenced them chronologically, would I do that again now?
So I’ve taken them out of the album, numbering them in order so I know which were in the original sort, I want to put the album back as it was because it’s part of our history and also represents my photographic thinking thirty one years ago, though I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thinking like a photographer back then! I’ve mixed up the album photos with the spares for each town and picked out the ten or so images I think are the strongest, eh photo above shows the town of Meknes. The next step will be to take the ones I’ve picked for each location and pull them down to the forty strongest overall. I sense this is going to be tougher, but I’m following more or less the process I go through from a shoot now where I hammer through the images in Lightroom accepting or rejecting, then go through a process of making choices, doing some processing at which point I invariably decide some just are not working, then pulling out the small percentage of the originals to go here, or my website, or social media. I’ve already found something I’d hoped which is that I’m removed enough from the taking for them almost to seem like somebody else’s images rather than mine, though a lot do still make me absolutely remember taking the photo, and the circumstances around that. Lots of these don’t make it into what you might call the semi-finals as one thing I’ve learned is that just because it’s a massive memory jogger for me doesn’t (necessarily) make it a strong image which somebody else might enjoy.
But in a lot I’m catching a faint smell of heat and dust; of of Rick and Ilsa.