Monday, February 18, 2013

I am vintage

The Work of Art in The Age of Its Technological Reproducibility written in 1936 
by philosopher Walter Benjamin kept ringing in my ear today.

It began last week with the search for more Polaroid 669 film.  After trying to buy film from top camera stores in New York City and California I was politely directed to the Internet.  

Photo by Suzanne Coley
I was so excited when I finally found the link to purchase more film online.  But when the link took me straight to eBay's vintage section I realized my work is from a different era.  

Polaroid 669 had been discontinued in 2009.

Photo by Suzanne Coley
Like many artists, I am a petite hoarder and had boxes of these films to last a few years.  

Then I began to think about my darkroom days when I used to cross-process E-6 film and tweak C-41 film in chemicals. 

Yes, I still use a carousel slide projector by Suzanne Coley

I handprinted my color photos on Kodak's professional metallic papers.  I am so happy I kept a few of the boxes, with my handwritten CYM settings of the Beseler and Omega enlargers,  because I couldn't even find info on the Internet.

Darkroom Kodak papers from 1997-1999

Today I pulled out Walter Benjamin's profound essay and reread it again, after years sitting in my collection of "important papers."  He opens it with an excerpt from Paul Valéry, Pièces sur l'art, 1931.  And, I will never forget Paul Valery's words, "We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art."

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