An active archive

I archived a library of large-format negatives and found a way to name and number each picture. I wanted to begin a book. However, everything was scattered and difficult to find, and so I went to the office store for clasp envelopes.

Inspired by storage guidelines maintained by the National Park Service, I added my negatives to clear sleeves and placed each in an envelope and wrote what, when and where in pencil. I cataloged 500 items and shared a handful at Omeka. This project sharpened my vision and led me to see space and perspective once more: an unexpected outcome.


A Light

Burn bright, my first experience with a photo darkroom was in an Odessa school. I rolled film, listened to music and printed for a journalism class. I cut my teeth at ball games and saw photos of the plains and realized a documentary path.

After college, I worked at a newspaper and ventured across the High Plains in my free time and met a place called Happy. I saw grain elevators and brick streets. I watched kernels of wheat sway in the wind and viewed Palo Duro Canyon, an inverted mountain. Furthermore, a friend gifted an 8x10 enlarger, and I entered a world of large-format photography. However, I moved to Austin for work and watched my newly found Eden shrink in the rearview.

So happy it hurts, after five years in the city and a stay at Navasota, I returned to Odessa with an appreciation for studio arts and pulled the 8x10 enlarger from storage to open a darkroom named the Dry Plate Factory & Press. From my shop, I can keep an eye on my home and toil inside, a picture maker absorbing light.