records and pictures

Excerpt from Thesis

Photography and punk/records are two things that I constantly think about.  It’s the things that allow interaction and experience in the real world.   Both have much in common, and also a few that are different.  The analogness of both mediums is something that is fascinating.  With analog practice it is the lack of immediacy after the image is taken.  I have to wait for the lab to process it and in printing a darkroom print; there is the slowness it takes to get it just right.  “Add 3 yellow, subtract 2 magenta,” I’ll tell myself.  Cliché as it may sound; this process allows a few things for me.  It allows time to be spent with the image, crafting it, like listening to a music track over and over to discover each piece of it.

Record collecting:  it‘s a horrible horrible disease.  Going to a store is dangerous, with the intent to just get that one thing one could end up getting 5 or 10!  And god forbid if they got some rare stuff mounted on the wall, taunting you to spend 200 or so dollars.  Records take up a lot of space.  They are prone to skipping, warping, and melting.  Yet these black (or colored) items, with grooves that produce sound are amazing to me.  On a technical level, records can sound louder and warme, because they are put onto a plate and made into the grooves, there is no compression of sound that happens through compact disc and mp3 formats.

To get one there are many different ways, through a store (preferable a mom and pop shop), trading with someone, used and new, and Ebay.  These different forms of getting record; especially the latter ones are usually reserved for trying to find that one particular item.  I may be looking for a particular record, or even pressing variation of a record they already own.  This can be anywhere from color variation, difference in artwork, sticker, inserts, and when the record was pressed (think of it like a first printing and second printing).  When I trade a record to get another, I have to let go one that one record for the trade.  I have to think about the use value:  is that record worth something personally to me and do I still listen to it.  It is a format that is still here despite all the digital forms of music, and appears will still be around for awhile.

Photography for me has these similar qualities that record collecting has had for me, besides the expensive cost.  One of them I go from crate to crate, store to store, to look for that one item.  I know what I am looking for, but it takes the effort to track it down.  When found I don’t store it locked away in safe keeping waiting the value to go up, I throw it on the turntable and listen to it over and over.  This time listening is appreciating and learning from this relic passed on.  Finding that one photograph out in the real world is like this.

One time at the WFMU record fair I went in to hunt for one record, searching for two days every vendor possible.  Toward the end of the search as I am flipping through moldy smelling items, I turn to the object I am looking for.  Bright yellow, black text, “FLIPPER, Generic.”  It is this satisfaction, “of searching,” that I relate to photography.

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