Thursday, January 19, 2012

visual obsessions: sepia

Way back in 2003, we received our first digital camera. Our photo library from that year is pretty sparse (ever the slow-to-change girl, I was wary of filmless photography) and our computer space even sparser. I only have a few dozen pictures archived from 2003, and of those, fully half seem to be saved in sepia. I don't know if it was the novelty of photo-adjustment software (ahhh, no more red eyes), or if I was feeling extra nostalgic for the faded prints of my childhood, but I seem to have gone a little overboard. Eventually my husband, who had actually learned the non-sepia aspects of the software, suggested I duplicate the photos before playing with them -- ingeniously simple, if slightly more space consuming.

But in those early years my originals are the experimentals.

Looking back through them today, I find the sepia effect thoroughly appropriate. Those first years were my long ago and old fashioned, my novice experimentation, those simpler days with just three little kids and no lessons, no school, no long-term-financial-plan, no real sense of the passing of time.

And yet. I say all that fully aware that "back then" nothing seemed simple, that three little kids was a completely overwhelming dynamic, that I was tired, anxious, and uncertain just as often as I can be today.

But the sepia soothes the print, takes out the glaring colors and off-tune composition, and leaves for me a sense of the joy and confusion and wonder those years contained as well, of our continual forays into new beauty -- within nature and home and all of the people I so intensively loved.

Those pictures ignite a sensation that once upon a time things were somehow more open and clear, and that someday maybe they will be again.

1 comment:

  1. Allyson, I am smitten by your writing (once again). What a beautiful comparison between sepia and the way you look back on that period of your life.

    I was thoroughly relieved to read your follow-up paragraph to the one referring to those "simpler" days. I am in the midst of three little kids and life right now seems anything but simple.

    I try to remind myself (as do all the older women in the grocery store on those days that the children are trying my patience to the fullest) that I'll look back on these days with longing. "They grow up so fast! Enjoy them while you can!" say those without children at home (perhaps with a hint of knowing superiority in their voice).