As I have been making images, with serious intentions, now since about 1988, I have quite an archive both digital and analogue. Revisiting this archive is useful thought provoking and fun. It serves as a  memory aid and motivates me to print old work fresh, honing my printing skills.

Teaching young people this art form however is somewhat more problematic. Numerous ideas and attitudes prevent this from happening.

Ideas like, the success of the image, the  image’s worth, or perceived lack of worth may influence a beginning artist to dismiss what they have. Size too is an issue as archives take many years to create and limited choices make it difficult to great something new and interesting from one’s own archive. Patrick Pound is one artist who actually creates work by mining his own archive of  vernacular photographs collected over many years, no camera involved!

Kodak has a site that helps in this regard. For anyone who cares to explore their archive. there is a wealth of content here. This site looks like a great place to find images to start making new photographic work that can been recontextualised.

Finally though, it was Frederick Sommer who said though:-

When you go out to make a picture you find you are moved by something which is in agreement with an image you already held within yourself

So. Having the ability to recognise this in your own photographic  work is a skill unto itself.

Also, NEVER, EVER delete of destroy negatives or files; you just never know when they may lead to something useful?

I plan on introducing this idea to my classes next year, as I teach across a variety of subjects that tap into these ideas.


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