Sunday, 9 August 2009

Portrait of Andy

Portrait of Andy - 1992

Last week, i started adding some of my old college photos to my Facebook page. I took loads of photographs of friends/classmates including the one above of Andy, a Geordie who was my housemate, a good friend and a great jazz photographer. I used the camera as a sort of visual notebook. In many respects, photographing my college years was like a big ongoing photography project, running alongside the normal college work. To say I'm glad i did it is an understatement, although i had no idea at the time what i would use them for. The internet and websites like Facebook have provided that answer. These photographs now have a home.

As I've been going through these photographs, I've had mixed emotions. They've made me laugh, but I've also felt sad. As my friend Matt said ' If i could go back, it would be back to those days'. Sadly we can't return and all we have are these photographs to remind us. It's a bittersweet feeling. Another question that remains unanswered is do photographs actually help keep memories of events and people fresh? I don't know if they do, although maybe it depends on the person, place or event. I can't help but think of a girl i knew (and loved) whenever i smell a certain specific perfume on someone in the street, so it's not just the visual that can take us back.

I'm going to continue to put my collection of college images up on Facebook. They were taken with no real purpose in mind, but now they have a function. A role. Besides, it is better to have the photographs on show, making people laugh or smile, than to have them hidden away in a draw somewhere. Photography and emotional attachment have always gone together. They are often strongly bound together in the form of a family album or a portrait of a friend, so take as many pictures as you can, because once that moment in time has gone... it's gone for good.

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