fading memories

As I sorted through my digitised photo library last week, deep in the fog of nostalgia, I was surprised to find so many endearing photos from last year's trip to Darwin. As I explained when I first posted some of the most immediately successful images, I was disappointed to find that the film I used was so faded and grainy. However, I eventually came to appreciate the unique and extremely analogue look that these photos have. That said, I felt a lot of them were failures, and relegated them to the depths of the (sizeable) library.

Looking at these images that I disliked so much at the time of development, I'm now so charmed by their washed-out colours and super grain. They are at once recent and dated, enchanting and mediocre. Beautiful in their overwhelming ordinariness.

Poor composition, uninspiring colours, shameless tourist scene: everything about this image points to failure, yet somehow it holds enormous appeal for me. And I don't think it's just because it holds personal memories. Rather, like I've hypothesised before, the aesthetic qualities of this film recalls a past I never knew, evoking nostalgia for a time and a place I'll never see. They also bring to mind family photo albums from three decades ago, which are almost exclusively associated with happy memories.

This was the very first photo I took in Darwin, and at the time I very strongly felt that the scene perfectly captured my immediate impressions of the Territory's capital: wildly exotic and uncannily suburban. My initial unhappiness with its ordinariness seems, in hindsight, therefore hypocritical.

Unremarkable, ugly and outdated. Certainly one of the most forgettable of the lot. But again, quite fascinating to me.

Dirty orange, tarnished green, tattered cardboard. This is so ugly! I really do treasure it, though. While nostalgia is the obvious reason for this, I can also fall back on the fact that, with their unsaturated hues and discernible grain, these photos are proudly anti-digital.

I suppose I can't claim unremarkable colours in this photo. However, they are very different to the actual colours of the sky that evening. What a beautiful scene. And a perfect way to remember that fabulously unusual place.


  1. GIRL I don't know what you're talking about! These are all beautiful!

  2. I agree! I do. I am just surprised that I didn't see it from the beginning!