Sunday, April 15, 2012

NaPoWriMo #15: Preserving photographs


Printed Photos just don't last

A whole stack of photos to dispose of --

memories on glossy or matte paper
depending on which I felt
would have preserved it longer;

there's no doubt these scenes are fading.

Thank God for scanners to save them
before they all fade away;

                              I remember
                                        the gardens were greener
                                        the skies were bluer, and
                                        us, bright in our loud slogan T's
                                        and promises,
                                        and you can still see it in our eyes
                                        -- we had an idea
                                        where we wanted to go before

the statues and people have become shadows,
the buildings have turned white without detail;
trees have transformed into towering brushes
hinting stains of yellow,

every leaf is lime;

and of what scent these gardens that blossomed,
even the flowers of spring have turned funeral:
sepia, damp, musty, surrounded
by coffin wood fences;

only the cemetery pictures
remain unchanged -- fields
of white headstones,
names and dates etched in black.

I thought they were beautiful
but I was young, and

they are beautiful

but they look different
to me now.

Streets of night markets have dimmed.
Sunday markets suffer as their fruits
on display go pale;
a woman was staring at an apple in her hand,

                      red or green,

she couldn't decide. 

It's kinda scary what happens to old pictures -- the way they fade and how horrible the colors become with age. I have been scanning old photos today in attempt to save them. I guess I should've done it sooner.

Thank goodness, these days we use digital cameras. The pictures won't fade. And they can be uploaded to the internet with great ease where they can be out in e-space for all eternity.


Manicddaily said...

Ah! This is wonderful--such a good idea for a poem and you describe it very well. (I have a lot of these old photographs also--) You get that fade with wonderful precision. K.

Heaven said...

I like the idea of scanning and keeping those pictures, forever bright and clear in my mind. I too regret not doing it earlier, some of my precious photos are fading and getting blurry ~

Happy day to you ~

Ravenblack said...

Cheers to the two of you, K and Heaven.

It's a real pity, some of the photos from 20-25 years ago cannot be saved. Interestingly, black and white photos from my parents' day seem pretty clear still. A great difference from the way things are processed I guess.

nsd said...

this is a great write. i esp. liked the last few lines, awesome. sort of sums up what happens when the colours of old photos faded.

dsnake1 said...

sorry, the previous post was from me - dsnake.

my laptop is acting up. :(

dulce ♥ said...

Yes.. we can keep them forever, the great difference is that, as they do not fade... it's somehow like Dorian gray's!!! LOL

Great write!

Fred Rutherford said...

wow, really never thought of them fading. I don't have many regular pictures, I got a late start to photography, guess that's good, but I better check out my parents old photo albums and see about scanning them in for them. Love the reflections throughout the piece and the one that struck me the most was the only ones that didn't change were the cemetary pictures-very powerful and chilling. Great job Raven. Thanks

Kateri said...

Love the poem--especially the last stanza. You are so right--my husband and have scanned all our old photos.

Anonymous said...

You so well create a sense of menacing emotion lying in wait at the edges of these leached photographs. This one really struck me.

Ravenblack said...

dsnake, dulce, Kateri, Fred and Anna -- thanks a bunch for coming by and leaving your thoughts. Much appreciated. :)

Yes, do check the old color photos.

I guess I shouldn't have taken pics of cemetery -- frowned upon as it is, but I didn't think anything of it then, or now -- just that they do look more and more eerie with as the photo deteriorates.

aprille said...

Don't set too much store by the longlevity of uploaded data: they too are at risk.
flickr photos are kept in a big storage center in th UK, but anything could still affect that. Your digidata should be doubled and redoubled on external harddrives. USB sticks also have a limited life.

Ravenblack said...

No worries, Aprille. I store them in more than one place -- CD, some on flickr, some on this blog, some on facebook. You are right, sometimes something can happen to a server and everything can be lost or at least become irretrievable.