Looking back through decades of my images (I was hunting for two in particular), it did strike me just how many moments I have experienced, documented, forgotten and remembered.
Abandoned Dance 2012
Regardless of what I did with any of those experiences after the fact, one thing remained common among all of them. I will never experience any of those moments again. In that sense, photography becomes a document of that which we will never again have. This is a potentially dangerous line of thought, I know. One should be careful how often one looks back. But despite that danger, I am helped by what these images remind me off.
I think we have a lot of trouble valuing the future. And we got awfully caught up in the present. Looking back is often where we best realise the value in what we have had, or experienced.
Boy and Puppy 2013
Going through the decades of collected photography I was first startled by all the things I have seen in these past years. In truth, I have seen much more than that but I have been making images from my life for about 35 years now, which is way more than half my life.
Mike and Anto 1990
So there is much I have done that has not been documented by me. It is a heady record of sights seen, friends had, trips made, quiet moments spent and the turning, turning, turning of the years.
It was a bit sad too, I admit. Images I looked at and remembered well surprised me by already having aged five or six years. Was it really that long ago so fast? To see photos of yourself younger, or people you knew who no longer live. These can be melancholic pleasures.
Jesper and Ken 1988
But I think this is OK, at least in measured doses. This reminder of time slipping by, of things loved and lost, of no river being stepped in twice; is what helps me colour the present more vividly, this is what helps me float through the little dramas of today that I really have no business allowing myself to become entangled by.
Why do I want to spend those precious moments angry at traffic, or frustrated by the things that need attending, ruing the weather? The answer is that I don’t. I only get that particular moment once and if I am lucky, I’ll make a photo in it to remind myself later how valuable a bit of time it was.
Gilbert, Pierre, Jean-Dennis, Susan – Chartres 2011
And as the title promised – A Life needs a history.