There is a famous story that some of you may know, but others may not. It legendary name is "The Mexican Suitcase". The best description of the tale is told here by the museum that holds the now treasured and historical works. But essentially the story is of a long lost set of images by a group of photographers from the Spanish civil war.
The Mexican Suitcase
There are a heap of images floating around online from the 126 rolls of film that were discovered in the suitcases, so I will let you do some searches and discover most of them organically, but I though I would share the image that I found that I am most attracted to.
Image from the many salvaged from the Mexican Suitcase
I Think the reason that this image stood out from the rest for me is due to the fact that it was one of the few that were not war scenes. Its such a simple scene, but when viewed as a set with the other very dramatic war scenes I think that this displays the life that would have been going on around the other madness of the time. We are talking shots from the mid to last 1930's that were lost to the world until 2007.
Amazingly in the same year there was another massive discovery made at the same time. Although very similar on many levels, this was probably more significant still in so many ways. A unknown street photographer by the name of Vivian Mayer is discovered. She is not alive at the time, and the size of the collection of negatives is massive. The video below is well worth a look. Its a very interesting story and one that any street photographer, or artist for that matter should be familiar with. It also goes a long way to cementing the argument that I have already raised around letting your images marinate before sharing them.
Vivian Mayer Self Portrait
The number of images that were captured by Mayer is just hard to believe. The number of years that its likely to take to go through and archive all the images is amazing. A number of the images that she took were self portraits, a strange thing for someone that was so private, but also something that many others have also done in the past. Lee Friedlander being a classic example.
Again, I will let you search and discover some of the images for yourself. The organic discovery of such a large body of work is a fun process and I dont want to take that away from you if its not something that you have done already. I would encourage you to buy one of the books of her work that are becoming available, and look at the amazing work the way it was designed to be viewed. On paper. I will share the one that I am drawn to the most again though.
Vivian Mayer Image
As you can see from the self portrait, Mayer shot all of her work on a TLR Rolleiflex camera. Hence the square format of all of the images coming out of her work. The image above displays what I think forms such a large part of a lot of her images. Its the interaction with the subject, often children. Again this is a strange thing for a private person. I think that it is a common thing to see in many photographers though. They change just a little, becoming just a little different when they are safely behind their camera.
Another long lead in as we can see... But I think it was worth it. Two really fantastic bodies of work, and only strengthened by the amazing stories that go along with them. I have been lucky enough to have a similar situation occur and I am going to share some of the spoils with you.
I have already talked in length about how I became a photographer, and hence provided a little history on my transition to the current. Back in high school I shot a series of nude images that I have already shared what I thought were the remaining gelatin silver prints of in the link above. In 2010 there was a major bush fire in Victoria and my grandparents house was destroyed in the fire. In the shed of the house was a lot of my old stuff, and I did think that the negatives from these images were there.
Guess what... I was wrong. When going through a heap of boxes in the back room in my house the other day making some room for a darkroom that I am building i found not only the missing nudes, but also a heap of film that had been processed and I dont think that I have ever even looked at. The image at the top of the post is from this collection, and I am going to start by sharing some more of the skate images that I found.
These are all guys that I used to hand out with when I was in late high school, and they were all very good at what they did. Some of them even winning major events in the USA and other places overseas during the late 1990's when inline skating was booming. I used to hang out and take shots of them whenever I had the chance. I didnt shoot colour very often, but I found these that were all shot on slide film.
Now we come to the black and white haul. There is a truck load. Some of these are not quite as old as there are pictures of my wife on some of them, but they are still a good 10 years, with many back in the skate era as well. Sheets and sheets of negs and even 3 rolls of film that were XP2 Ilford that had been colour processed for me, but never cut into strips. They were all in the film canisters still. This is exciting. I already linked to the post about marinating images... These things might even be a little past their best before. But lets have a look anyway!
House on a Hill
This was actually shot about 10 years ago on a wine tour that my wife and I did. I thought this image was lost. I do have a print of it somewhere, but it was such a find for me to locate the negative. Its an image that I really like. The high grain and dramatic sky really work well for me.
I have already posted about some of the nude series that I shot in high school. These were also on the list of negs that I thought were gone forever. How wrong I was. I will share with you the images that I havent shared in previous posts.
So there you have it. As you can imagine I am pretty stoked about this find. I guess it pays to have a Spring clean! Maybe a little bit of a sign of things to come given they were all located deep in the bottom of a box while I was in the process of clearing out for the darkroom. More progress on that tomorrow. I have a day off work from the real job, and am planning on attacking the tasks that need to be completed to get the darkroom functional!