Basketball Shadows | Mark Lindsa

I've been slowly scanning and digitizing my library of negatives and transparencies. A daunting task in many ways, it is nonetheless a process of discovery and passion. The old negatives jump to life. Memories blossom. Was this really my life? I must have dreamed it, it seems so long ago and so far removed from the me of today.

Back then I had my beloved Nikon F, a camera that mysteriously disappeared from my house, a loss that I grieve to this day. I so loved that camera. It was constructed of heavy brass, a brute of a camera that was my loyal friend. I would photograph everything I could, then wait until dark when I could safely transfer the film to developer tank. The processed film would hang in the bathroom until dry. Somehow the negatives made it here—2009 and Northern California.

Today's image was shot during my freshman year of college. It seemed that the view from the basketball court was a bit mundane so I climbed up onto the backboard. The world was very different from above the hoop on that winter day in New Jersey. It is still one of my favorite photos, now freshly scanned and digitized. To me, it looks better than ever, much cleaner and more alive than the early prints I'd made at RIT with the monstrous Omega enlargers we used back then.

Old negatives have a personality to them. There was nothing like taking them out of the tank and eagerly putting them up to the light for the very first time. One had to reverse the images in the mind, then make small contact proofs to be viewed with a magnifying glass. By the time a real print was made it might be weeks. Today's digital imaging is so much more immediate. Back then the hands were much more involved. Handling the negatives with care felt like something important. It still does.