Tag Archives: archiving photos

holding hands

Kazakh_2004-08-05_Almaty_001Maybe this is what happened with Guka and me (reference to a previous post). On several occasions, I said more than she was comfortable with, and we lost respect for each other because of it. I know I disappointed her when I didn’t like Almaty. When I kept one foot in Bukhara during my visit. I tried, but Almaty is a very Soviet city (Russians call it Alma-Ata) infused with new oil money. It is what it is. It certainly wasn’t her.

But what happened with Guka is not the point. For years, I’ve wanted to explain something that happened there, when we went hiking in the mountains outside Almaty with a group of her friends. I’m not sure how many creative people feel this way, but I have so many photos sitting waiting to be edited and seen, so many stories unwritten, that I feel in some way I can’t move on creatively until they are tended. It makes me apprehensive. Apprehensive about jumping into more, though of course I have. Though in that, too, something feels unresolved, unworked through, unseen. Something I’ve wanted to process has been ignored.

Kazakh_2004-08-08_Chimbulak_008And so, in February of 2009, I began to go through 100s of old CDs full of digital photos. I love to clean, organize, and get rid of things (you don’t? Call me). I organized them down to a few DVDs, then decided to send off all my negs and chromes to India to be scanned. This I documented closely, as it was an endeavor. (It’s archived in the scancafe category.) When I got them back, I started archiving and tagging them in Lightrooom. It was amazing, cathartic, and tedious as hell. I also started uploading selects to Flickr, so they can be viewed.

Why? To make them conscious. So I know what’s there. Some of those images are printed. Most of them sit in archival boxes. Many are not, particularly the chromes. They are all but impossible to look at. So, I had them scanned. Why scan 7,000 old photos? So I know what’s there. And so others can see them if they desire. So they don’t sit in boxes in the back of my mind, like stories untold.

So finally, two and a half years later, I am uploading the 2004 selects to flickr. I will shut up, sit down, and finally write the story about that day at Chimbulak. Even though in words, it seems like nothing.

Chimbulak is a ski resort outside Almaty in the Tien Shan Mountains. We went there in the August for a hike and some fresh air. There were eight of us. It was an easy hike, but we were all at different levels, and two were kids. About half way to the top, at the base of the ski lift, the Soviet-built, terrifyingly-rickety ski lift, there was a resort where we stopped for lunch and some liquid courage (vodka). It was typical Russian fare. I enjoyed myself. We laughed and had fun.

Kazakh_2004-08-08_Chimbulak_067After the lift was a short climb. It wasn’t difficult, but we’d had plenty of vodka and were soon tired, but we pushed on. As we neared the top, we did something I’ve never seen in my years of hiking. Something Americans would never do. We linked hands. It wasn’t unusual to them in the least. We held hands and helped each other up the rest of the mountain. To the stubbornly independent American, it seemed not only strange, but not that helpful.

But it was. Even if you were toward the top of the chain, doing most of the work, the linking woke us up and brought us together. The last bit of the hike though the clouds was easy, coming together as one.

As we did this, my thoughts went, “What are you doing? That’s silly. This will impede everyone. What the hell? Keep your mouth shut. You are a guest here. Wait. Wait. How strange. This is nice. I’m being pulled, gently. I’m gently pulling. We are helping each other, and we are lighter, and faster, and efficient.”

Kazakh_2004-08-08_Chimbulak_112Nevermind that Guka wouldn’t take my hand.

It was not the way I was used to, but it worked. Magically. And with that realization, it hit me just how different Kazakh, and Central Asian, culture is. Yes, of course I knew it, understood it conceptually. But before this, I didn’t feel it or understand it on a cellular level. I didn’t feel it to be true. I just knew it intellectually.

And perhaps this seems simple, or obvious, or like nothing, but after fifteen years of foreign travel, I finally truly understood how some cultures rely on each other much more intrinsically than we do in the U.S. We frown up on it here, to the point that so many people are alienated and alone, with no idea how to truly connect to another person. We are afraid it means we are needy or weak, or will be trapped in some sort of needy abyss (ours or another’s). But it doesn’t mean any of this.

At the top, we sprawled out in the grass for a rest.

 

To see all the photos from the day at Chimbulak, go to flickr.

We don’t really go that far into other people, even when we think we do. We hardly ever go in and bring them out. We just stand at the jaws of the cave, and strike a match, and quickly ask if anybody’s there.    ~Martin Amis

 

not for the youngins

I’m having an excellent day, and not just because I started it off watching this (swoon), and then the Count (above. Thank you, Mo). No wonder he was always one of my sesame faves. Oh, to laugh so hard everyday. A must watch for the perverted dorks among you. A pass for the youngins and the uptight.

I know you’re burning for the photo archive update. I’ve archived 6,239 photos, am on Aug 25, 2004, and have uploaded 2,106 (through 1997) to flickr. I am back in Bukhara now, and the next 106 photos are of a lamb sacrifice Ulug′s neighbors had for their new building. So gross. Traditionally, there is a lamb sacrificed per floor of the building. I asked Ulug if they did this for their hotel, and he replied, “Of course!”

Oh dear. I just realized how appropriate the count is to this photo archive endeavor. Hahaha.

scancafe: archiving the photos


Traci. Seattle, 1992.

Back in August (2009), I meticulously packed all my negatives and chromes (slides) to send to India, via California, to be scanned by scancafe. I plan to write a final review this weekend, now that I’ve seen all the images, organized them a bit, and have the negs and chromes back. This photo of Traci at the Seattle Aquarium is a result.

After packing the images, shipping them, waiting, reviewing and choosing, and finally receiving the DVDs and hard images back, I started organizing (they weren’t kept in order, as promised, which resulted in hours of reorganizing the files), and I put the negs and chromes back in the files they came from. This is when I found that yes, my Pakistan negatives were lost. The contact sheets were in their proper place, and I always keep my negs with my contact sheets. More on this later.

I’m now, finally, archiving everything in Lightroom I started learning Lightroom last fall then stopped to prep for Australia. I didn’t love it at first, but, what do I ever love at first? Now I’m smitten. I love order. I love organizing. I love photos. It’s a dream come true. I remember making excel files of my shoot lists 15+ years ago so I could do searches for keywords. Combine that with the developing (which I’ve not delved into much as I’m entering these into the archives catalog first, and so still use Photoshop until I learn LR properly) and, wow. It makes this whole digital thing everything it should be.

I will have at least 10,000 photos (about 3,000 from scancafe scans) archived when I’m done, beginning with negs scanned from December 1988. My goal of the evening is to finish 1992. I’m on December.