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Thursday, 12 June 2014

My Sort-of Vacation


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 National Forest, Panguitch, Utah (Crown Graphic, Type 79, expired 03-2009): photo by moominsean, 11 October 2010

Distant mountains.  Near mountains.  More mountains; bluish beauties never attainable, or ever turning into inhabited hill after hill; south-eastern ranges, altitudinal failures as alps go; heart and sky-piercing snow-veined gray colossi of stone, relentless peaks appearing from nowhere at a turn of the highway; timbered enormities, with a system of neatly overlapping dark firs, interrupted in places by pale puffs of aspen; pink and lilac formations, Pharaonic, phallic, "too prehistoric for words" (blasé Lo); buttes of black lava; early spring mountains with young-elephant lanugo along their spines; end-of-the-summer mountains, all hunched up, their heavy egyptian limbs folded under folds of tawny moth-eaten plush; oatmeal hills, flecked with green round oaks; a last rufous mountain with a rich rug of lucerne at its foot...
 
A collection of a local lady's homemade sculptures, closed on a  miserable miserable Monday morning, dust, wind, witherland. ... Our twentieth Hell's Canyon. Our fiftieth Gateway to something or other fide that tour book, the cover of which had been lost by that time.  Always the same three old men, in hats and suspenders, idling away the summer afternoon under the trees near the public fountain. A hazy blue view beyond railings on a mountain pass, and the backs of a family enjoying it (with Lo, in a hot, happy, wild, intense, hopeful, hopeless whisper -- "Look, the McCrystals, please, let's talk to them, please" -- let's talk to them, reader! -- please! I'll do anything you want, oh, please ...").
Vladimir Nabokov: from Lolita (1955)




Rimforest, California (Crown Graphic, Fuji FP-100C45): photo by moominsean, 3 November 2011


Abandoned convenience store, Picacho Peak, Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 53, expired 03-1995): photo by moominsean, 29 August 2010
 

 
Rain, Panguitch, Utah (Crown Graphic, Type 79, expired 03-2009): photo by moominsean, 11 October 2010


Grand Canyon (North Rim), Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 53, expired 03-2009): photo by moominsean, 7 October 2010

 
Storm, Panguitch, Utah (Crown Graphic, Type 89, expired 02-2006): photo by moominsean, 11 October 2010
 


Rain, Panguitch, Utah (Crown Graphic, Type 58, expired 04-1993)
: photo by moominsean, 11 October 2010


Storm, House Rock Valley, Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 79,  expired 03-2009): photo by moominsean, 11 October 2010
 


Abandoned tanks, Bisbee, Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 59, expired 02-2006): photo by moominsean, 29 August 2010


Monsoon, Phoenix, Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 64, expired 06-2004): photo by moominsean, 31 July 2010


Monsoon, Phoenix, Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 64, expired 06-2004): photo by moominsean, 31 July 2010


Monsoon, Phoenix, Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 58, expired 04-1993): photo by moominsean, 31 July 2010
 

Chiriaco Summit, Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 79, expired 02-2004): photo by moominsean, i August 2011
 

Yarnell, Arizona (Crown Graphic, Type 79, expired 03-2009): photo by moominsean, 1 August 2011

3 comments:

Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

Ahhh... the West... the Southwest... just as gritty as the last time Doc Holliday had himself a good Tombstone cough-up of cheesy lung-blood. Ahhh... and these days we have expired film to beauty-it-up when the local stop-'n-rob convenience store closes and starts ever-so-slowly to "return to nature." Thank you, Tom!!! And Thank you, Ghost of Nabokov!!!

TC said...

The "look" of moominsean's expired Polaroid shots evoke for me something of the beauty as well as something of the chintzy feel of the Touring-View West of the 1950s... the West as Nabokov might have seen it in his cross country travels, examining the American "scenic" landscape with that particular distanced, sardonic eye, lepidopterist examining specimen, novelist observing cultural detail.

Not forgetting that Nabokov was very much pre-digital. Back in analog days, there were a few of those. Writers.

moominsean offers some fascinating insights into the offbeat possibilities, risks, challenges and surprising rewards of working with toy cameras and expired film. He's been doing it for the past eight or nine years.

On 2 September 2006 he reported on his photography blog (moominstuff):

"Sad news...Polaroid will be discontinuing Type 80 films in the last three months of the year. I love Type 87, so I guess I'll have to stock up. The other option is to buy expired film. Buying expired Polaroid is a bit of a crapshoot. It dries out after a period of time, depending on how it was stored. Five year old film can be bone dry, and 30 year old film will still have working developer. It also tends to not be cheap (not usually as expensive as new Polaroid, but still enough that one can be unsure of spending cash on what may amount to a nice display box).

"The attraction of expired Polaroid, at the same time, is its unpredictability. The chemistry is different, which already creates different tones [than] current Polaroids. Couple this with old film and old developer and you can get some truly fantastic results."

Three days later he posted on "'expired' expired film", and showed the results of shooting with a batch of old Polaroid stock that proved beyond resuscitating.

"I like to experiment with expired film, as evidenced in my previous posts, but sometimes expired film is just...dead."

To prove his point, he offered a row of faded, nearly blank shots, made on a recent trip to Zion National Park, that resembled small Rothkos -- and revealed that to reduce the element of risk, he always shoots with multiple cameras, and tries to make sure to have non-expired film on hand.

Wooden Boy said...

There's something of Nabakov the lepidopterist in this passage, pinning each image with a needlesharp precision. And then the shift, her human need fluttering as if it were other - us pulled in and played with too.

The colours are as lovely as anything.