This is my favourite time of the year. Yes, there are bills to pay, there are crowds in the stores and everybody wants a present, but there is something magical about Christmas. I grew up in the Coca-Cola/Walt Disney World of Christmas, wherein RGB is the colour space and twinkling is expected. Maybe it is nostalgia or maybe it is that I learned something critical to happiness from this time of year: if we suspend our disbelief and have a little faith in the world, then the lights are brighter and the rough edges fade away.
I have been so lucky in my life to meet some wonderful people who have become friends for as long as I care to remember. Certainly, there have also been some awful people who sit in darkness all year round, but I believe that those people are best to leave to their own devices in the shadows. Obviously, things have changed since I was sitting on my mother’s lap surrounded by wackily wrapped presents, but I can always go back inside my imagination to those days when tinsel and hot lights filled my dreams, and Santa rode an old-fashioned sleigh through the night-time air. My dreams are still all Charlie Brown and Mickey Mouse when it comes to December, and there is nothing wrong with that.
So what does any of that have to do with photography? Photography probably comes to the forefront on the holidays. Most of the photos that I was able to save from the water-damaged albums of my family, by scanning them before they disintegrated any further. Families everywhere snap shots from under the tree and those images become the history and record of our pasts. These days everything is digital, and I would hazard a guess that most of those photos will be lost due to imperfect back-up strategies. The solution? Print your photos and send them to people as presents. They may think you are crazy now, but in twenty years that may be all that is left of your loved moments and friends.
On my present front, it is rumoured that my Hasselblad 120mm Makro lens has arrived in pristine shape from KEH Camera in Atlanta. There is also a rumour that I picked up my first two vinyl records in 26 years. I could not help myself when I saw the beautiful album covers; it is just one of those moments when you know you are falling in love with old things you left behind. So I also picked up a beautiful turntable from Pro-ject – The Xpression Classic III, and have been listening to Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero and The Downward Spiral, whose covers feature the photography of one of my favourite artists, Rob Sheridan. It has been subtle and calm to be forced to focus on album formats again, and while I love the ease of iTunes and the clarity of compact discs (for which I just received a new NAD disc player from my family), the vinyl will be kept for when I want to relax and spend some time with one of my favourite musical artists. I remember all five of my first vinyl records, and since I was writing monthly articles for www.vinylfetish.ca I figured it was time to spend some time with the nostalgia, the old snap shots and my family.