All posts in Photos

Slide film, resurrected

If you are at least as old as me, some part of your nascent history is captured on slide film. These little square transparencies sit stacked by the thousands in old shoe boxes in some relative’s attic; no one has looked at them in decades. You might remember that humming, donut-shaped slide projector that sent a dusty beam of light up toward a tacked-up sheet in your house thirty years ago, while the slides rotated with a thunk; if the person running it was truly the artistic type, they might have run and put on a record in the background.

I’m sort of horrified by the way family photographs rot; the way they collect and fade and return to anonymity, friends of older relatives who you’ve never seen, hoards of people in backdated hairstyles at ancient backyard barbecues, pictures of little poodle dogs and big American cars with fins, none of it anyone can put a name or even a decade to once a little time goes by and a few relatives pass away. It’s a shame. My own family hoards countless suitcases, boxes, and bags of these anonymous moments of time. I might be looking at my own great great grandmother, and I wouldn’t know it was her.

Scanning such slides would merely update their format, but their meaning is gone. They remain beautiful in a way, but whatever story they are really trying to tell, well, your guess is as good as mine.

These slides were found in a box belonging to my husband’s late mother. They tell a story of a parade, somewhere, in the 1960’s. I think they are strangely beautiful.

Scanning slides has a technique to it; just look to the internet if you want to get it right. I didn’t follow any particular guidelines with these, I just tossed them on an old Epson flatbed scanner to see what they would reveal.