Getting Back on Track

Sometimes you read something and you find it to be so memorable that – well – you remember it. That was the case with something I came across while I was applying to grad schools around 1980 for the first of my two graduate degrees. It was in the catalog of the University of Chicago, and it basically said this: the university had pretty good athletic facilities for a school whose former president once said, “Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.” (I was accepted by Chicago and a number of other schools, but I ultimately ended up going to Yale – but that’s another story.)

I thought that quote at the end was pretty good. When you get the urge to do something, lie down until that urge goes away.

Still, there are times when you need to act upon an urge to accomplish something – because you know that if you don’t do it right then and there, it may never get done! That’s what happened to me almost two weeks ago: a sudden urge to clean up my apartment, get rid of unneeded stuff and put things in a proper place so that I could see most of the floor of my work room here (which had taken on the appearance and the use of a walk-in closet).

So, instead of watching a video as I usually do on a Friday night, I set to work on straightening this place out. The work continued through the weekend, but by the end of it I had made significant progress. One of the notable accomplishments was that, through a combination of getting rid of stuff and re-arranging other things, pretty much my entire collection of photography and art books is now on shelves.

Before this, much of it was stacked in piles on the floor – pretty much making it impossible to use the room as a darkroom as I’d done in the past. Now that I don’t need to hurt my back moving those books into the living room (and back later on), I may actually begin to start printing again before too long. That is the point of it all, isn’t it? For several years now, I’ve contented myself by simply scanning negatives and posting those photos here on the web. That was just taking the easy way out, really, so hopefully before long I can once again start creating what I consider to be the end product of my photography: hand-crafted silver gelatin prints. (Yes, I’m a believer in prints being made by people, not machines – and what I will do with those prints of mine is another matter, as well.)

Still, before I can make prints (or even make film scans in an orderly fashion), I need to get my negatives organized and filed into pages. I had been very neglectful in that I hadn’t even filed the bulk of the negatives from my trip to Laos and Vietnam in February 2006, so in keeping with the new spirit of things, last night I filed and annotated six rolls of film from that trip.

Tonight I did another six more. (The photos I’m posting are among those that I dealt with.) I think I’ve got another eighteen rolls left, and when those are done, it’ll be doing the same for the film shot last year in Canada, plus much of the film I did this year. It will all take time – including the ten rolls of film I still have left to develop – but it will get done, and hopefully the best of it will make it here to the blog. Stay tuned.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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