I am scanning really old color negatives from 1986 - and I noticed two thing: The worst of all, appears to be the German Agfacolor XPS 100 professional. Not only are the colors dull, but there seem to be one layer that is disintegrating with an ugly pattern basically all across the negatives. I used this film when I was at my grandmother Elfriede in West Germany. It appears to be a really bad film - now 35 years later. After all, remember that all my negatives are stored under the same conditions for decades. Other films do not show this kind of disintegration.

 

Better colors with Fuji

The other film, is Fujicolor HR 100 - I used in 1985 and 1986 in medium format. This one exhibits blue bright light blue spots all across the negatives - which I found in several films. It isn't any film I used often, though. Generally, the Fujicolor HR 100 from the 80s holds colors better than Agfacolor XPS form the 80s.

All of those mentioned films, where developed by labs. The Agfacolor mostly in germany, while the Fuji I brought to a lab in Stockholm. This could also be a reason. Labs can screw up longetivety, if their machines diverted from the standard processing in any way.

Kodak films are as far as I can see, fine, even those from the mid 80s. Also later Fujicolor G films, are fine as of 2021.

 

Portrait of Stranger

I remember his face - but I have absolutely no memories otherwise. What we talked about ? where he came form ? If we did something or not. It is like a blanc sheet... It is strange - while at the same time, he comes to life after 35 years. Just like that... People, who are, if they are still alive, likely be in their mid 70s...

It's really so strange...

 

I have tons of negatives

I mean we are talking about what ? 1 million images both analog negatives as well digital negatives. As of lately I am adding scanned images from a time period between 1986 to 1989 to my digital archive. That work is slow... And it hits a spot in my personal life, which I realize was so... confused, strange and lost. Not because I was young, even if that did of course contribute to the "confusion". I will not say, that an age of 20 to 23 is a age to be neglected, only because it "has been such a long time ago", or "we were so young".

 

What does 23 even mean ?

I mean, back then, when you were 23 years of age - it was the OLDEST and MOST MATURE version of your life at that time. So, degrading it, would be stupid. And yet it is very easy, to do so... You tell yourself "Bah, 23 years old...", making it look or sound as if it was a glass barely filled with wine.

We tend to forget the spirit of time back then, when we were right in it. And the future wasn't defined, because our consciousness was (and is) so limited, it cannot see pass the choices it had not made yet. And yes, while it was confusing to be 20 to 23 years old... it was at the same time, the point on our life, which summarized and concentrated everything up until that very point in life. The future was unknown to us (from a point of consciousness). And on top of that, there is the important aspect of that the future is always fluid...

 

The mid 80s onwards in my life

So, here I stand - skipped "a couple of frames" - and time has moved 35 years forward. The 80s isn't a time I often like to revisit from a photographical perspective. I was just at the beginning of my interest in photography, but already hulking around a big Medium format cameras at times. I also remember that I never felt really good about my images back then. As if there was something missing.

And boy where there many "demons" inside of me back then. This immense amount of bad consciousness and guilt for every little fart, no matter what. THAT was confusing. To struggle with those deep, dark emotions that bobbed around constantly - while at the same time I was an open spontaneous person, always on the light side. Only that, the reality was, that I also was a very damaged person. Like a bird with cut wings - or were to believe to have cut wings. The experiences from my past were unresolved.

I did not even know what a depression was, or what to do with it.

It was indeed a very complex as well complicated time - while at the same time, I often would step out of it all. I was young, i had a future, and i had just recently moved to Sweden. And boy was my heart craving for love... And that did not go well at all. On the contrary, the wrong people would step into my life (it felt like). The kind of assholes who love a good fuck with a young guy - and then give a rats ass about your feelings. That kind of style. Only that the Swedish style was more gentle, less into your face.

In hindsight, the mid 80s and onwards, were absolutely terrible...

 

Coming to life

Now that I see some images coming alive after 35 years - I do remember many moments (especially faces). The stranger in the photo above, i kind of remember him - but absolutely nothing about him, or what we did, or didn't do.

So, here they are: clear in photos after a long time, in a digital age, larger than what is needed, clearly and sharper than necessary... is both real and totally unreal. It almost reminds me of how timelines all mix together, into a diffuse stream of "one". I guess those are the spots in which many people can recognize themselves, as time has moved on, pushing 60 or similar. As if young and old merge.


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