My granny is smiling and standing on the grave of someone who died at 16. I vaguely remember her telling me she had a sister. I wonder if that’s her. I wonder if they even knew each other. My granny’s name is Virginia - was her sister also named Virginia, Virgie for short? Maybe it’s her cousin. 

I think that’s my great aunt in the third picture and she is obviously a better picture-taker than my granny is. 

The skinned fish were on this same roll of film. I’d like to think Virginia spent the afternoon in the graveyard and that night, making dinner, she had death on her mind and, for that reason, took a photo of the dead, skinned fish. It’s a beautiful photo. 


I’m not quite sure I am able to express the tug these images have on my heartstrings. Selections from my family’s slide suitcase found on the top of my granny’s linen closet two summers ago. 

She had already moved out by then. Not by choice. My aunt had her moved to a nursing home in central Florida, and we were left to clear out her belongings. It felt like she had suddenly died, but we knew she was still alive. And doing well, apparently. I heard from my mother that she has a boyfriend in her nursing home. That means she actually has two boyfriends, now: one who still lives in the house behind the house in which  I found these slides and the one in the nursing home. She likes having two boyfriends, I hear. She has Alzheimers, so I think she forgets sometimes. 

I want to show my grandmother all of these pictures and I want her to tell me stories about them. I want her to know who all of these people are, and what they were doing that day, and what food they grilled and what that guy is pointing at. I want to know where these photos were taken so I can go to those places and feel what happened there, even if it was just another barbecue.

But I don’t speak to her that much anymore. Last time I visited her in Florida, I apologized for not speaking with her as much as I want to. And it’s not that I don’t have the time or energy or that I don’t think about her. I just don’t know how to reconcile our conversation because I know she won’t remember. And I know she doesn’t remember that I told her I was sorry and that we cried a lot and how tightly she held my hands. 

People have told me that I should keep in touch with her for me, not for her. Because, at this point, it won’t make much difference how she feels. They say I should keep talking to her to keep myself from feeling guilty, if I suspect I’ll feel guilty about it. 

The thing is I’m trying to just forget about feeling guilty. And these images help me, in some way.


35 mm Kodak Safety FIlm 5063.  Not even sure what state I found these in (other than my perpetual state of other people’s nostalgia har har). When looking at the negatives, it’s not very apparent that that puppet is a puppet.  I thought it was a human face until I uploaded it - and it was a worthwhile surprise, to say the least. 

When looking at these particular negatives, actually, you can’t see much. They have very little contrast. I toned them quite a bit photoshop. It felt a lot like having a magic marker - I wasn’t even sure what the images were until they magically began appearing with some levels and layers adjustments. Usually I don’t tone any of the slides or negatives I find - but maybe this isn’t what you’d typically consider toning. It’s more like digging for color. 

Which makes sense. After doing some research into the film stock, Kodak 5063 was known to fog and fade pretty quickly. It’s an acetate-based film (opposed to nitrate or polyester) which became popular in the 1970s-1980s. That looks about right. 

So, surprise! A post that reeks of sweat, hotdogs and pastime. 

I keep thinking, though, who is tug-of-war a pastime for? I remember playing at birthday parties as a kid, but even then I feel like there was some part of me that knew it was an old, traditional party game. And I wonder if these kids feel the same way. Or if maybe when you’re just pulling really hard and you’re always either winning or losing, and either way you know you’re going to fall in the grass, and then you do, and it was fun, and it doesn’t even matter anyway, then that has nothing to do with time at all. 


I found these last night on the second floor of a freshly demolished church on Damen Ave. Just as we stopped to look at it, a guy who lived next door to the building was outside and showed us a way through the fence into the demolition site. We entered through the basement, climbed up some stairs, turned a corner and found ourselves in the old chapel - the entirety of the back wall removed and exposed to the rest of the block. 

The pews, still intact though scattered across the room, were covered in white fabric. No one had removed the alter. The piano was still in tune though a couple keys didn’t work. I played that one song I remember from piano lessons. 

This notebook was in one of the hallways. It was sitting on top of a pile of holiday decorations. 

Most of the journal contains notes from religious school lessons. I flipped through the pages to see if I could find anything else. The sonogram was tucked between a number of blank pages in the back. It’s from the same woman whose name is on the cover of the notebook. 

When I began reading the notebook (also using Google translator), I figured the woman writing had to be in middle or high school. The cover has doodles of hearts and, in some margins, it looks like she’s practicing her signature. 

As the notebook progresses, the handwriting becomes more legible and switches to cursive (you can see that transition from the scans of entries above). I’m not entirely sure if it’s the same woman writing throughout, but it sure seems like it. 

She might be very young. She’s also pregnant.

And the cover of her journal reads: “To you my Lord with all my heart I urgently need to speak with you.”

 


I really like to think about these photos being taken somewhere in Gainesville. I like to think the swamp is directly to blame; that it’s been melting the colors away in hot, thick breaths. That alligator is older now. 

(Found in Micanopy, Florida, 2012)


Peach pealing with the Zilzes: Summer of 1965. I’d like to think she is making a peach pie and that that day is as hot as this one, almost 50 years later. 


Look at those colors! Dang. This is what happens when printed photos are scanned and made into slides. I like it. 

These are all photos by James Stanfield, a shooter for National Geographic since 1967. You can read his official bio here if you’re interested. If not, that’s okay. The fun, “unofficial” history is that some teaching assistant made these Nat Geo scans for a photo class in the 1980s. No Internet, no Powerpoint. No reason for these to still be sitting in a file cabinet, either. 


This makes me laugh.

Edit: I was just gonna leave it at that, but I promised history, so here it is:

This is from a trip to Miami in January of 1967. Charles Zilz and his wife lived in New Jersey, so I’m assuming they took this tropical vacation to avoid the winter. I wish I could tell you his wife’s name, but none of the slide packages are mailed to her.

Later (or prior?), the two took a cruise to the Bahamas. I have slides from that adventure, too. 

This history isn’t actually that interesting. What’s interesting though, as it always is when you re-realize this, is that people are always doing the same things. 


These are from my grandmother’s house in Tennessee. I found them at the top of her linen closet in the hallway. Slide boxes are always at the top or bottom of something. 

So, this is my family. My mother is in the second and fourth photographs, all the way to the left (2) and wearing yellow (4). She doesn’t know I have these slides. If she did, she’d want to keep them at the top of her linen closet. 

I think the Internet is a way better place for them. 


You are looking at six Ansochrome color slides from 1952-54!

Ansochrome didn’t last very long both on the market and as a film stock.  It was, however, one of the first slide film stocks that could be processed at any photo lab— prior to that, you could only develop photos at the lab of the manufacturer which made the film. Kodachrome, for example, had to be factory-processed at Kodak (Historic Photo Archive has more info about Ansochrome, even scans of the different mounts from various processing companies! Cool!)

I’ve read that Ansochrome tends to fade very quickly—maybe only preserving its original colors for 10-15 years—before it turns bluish and eventually pinkish. I’m not sure how or why the color of these slides is preserved so well. I have a whole box of them, all in this slightly faded, soft, blue tint. It was at the bottom of a whole shoebox of slides I found on the top shelf of a bookcase in Micanopy 2-3 weeks ago. 

There are TONS of portraits of this woman from various vacations, holidays and just around the home. Will be posting more later! Keep checkin’ back, folks.