#21 From the series, Desolation's Comfort | Mark Lindsay

Snapshots are worlds within worlds. One could study an image seemingly forever and always find something revealing. Mostly it is the gestalt in which I am interested. I search for an over-arching impression, a feeling that grabs me. Most any snapshot makes me feel something. With all the photos I look at most every day, the gamut of feelings more times than not reside in the zone of melancholy.

These old photos sneak up on us. They sit in boxes and drawers for ages and then pop out at unexpected times. Gasp! Suddenly we are confronted of an old photo of ourselves, or our friends, or family. Sometimes the photo is of someone we never knew—a lost soul stuck in box. We peer into a murky past. Like bugs in amber, the characters are stilled, frozen in a forever state of suspension. With time the people seem less real. They seem more and more disconnected to the present. Sadly, they inevitably fade back into the paper from which they emerged.

We see so many photos every day that we take them for granted. Too much information trips the consciousness circuit breakers. So many stories are stacked together in endless piles of photographic clutter. It's too much to ponder. The swirl of life is beyond the human mind's reach.

Most of the snapshot images I use for my Desolation's Comfort series seem to find me. I've scanned and restored thousands of old images. It's an obsession. A few of the photographed subjects in a few of the photos start to haunt me. A few less begin to speak to me. It takes time to get to know them. Then, in a instant, I decide to move these friends into a new venue. Like a scene from an opera, they become bigger than life. A drama unfolds. The photo's original story is still there, but, it becomes part of something new.

The final results always surprise me. "I made that?” I ask myself. Actually, I didn't make anything. The snapshot told me what it wanted to become. All I had to do was to feel and to listen.