13 Oct 2011

Baobab - my family tree

As I am getting older I notice increasing fondness for collecting certain objects - often not terribly valuable, but connected on a personal level.
I have even initiated and animated for a while a photographic project of family history.
That itself is not an original idea these days, but the fact that it was me, the one who had settled far away from my birth family became the animator of this project for a while was rather telling.
The fact that I was the most geographically distant from my kin was probably the most formative reason. I guess, I have decided to enact a certain ritual around me of creating the historic context of images and stories.
Perhaps I was trying to give myself comfort of familial visual texture of the "iconostas" of the images of kinship, the sense of descent, of lineage.
It is also possible that as I had realized that may be "over the hill" in life, that need for ritualization is instinctive and becomes the inseparable part of family life and just growing old.

The idea grew when several years ago I visited my parents' home near Warsaw, Poland.
My father showed me his album that contained some old photographs I had never seen, those that he inherited after his Mother's passing away while I was already living abroad. 
I asked if I could borrow them and offered to professionally restore digitally, enlarge and print in multiple copies for other relatives. He refused, reasonably concerned that my luggage may get lost and those unique items will perish forever.
I understood the concern.

A half a year later my sister visited me and brought those photographs with her, smuggling the during our fathers leave for a vacation.
So I have scanned the originals, restored, colour managed in a direction that some enhancements will be made to size, contrast, background tone and obvious restoration of dust, scratches, missing fragments etc. The digital copies were to preserve the tonal quality of the originals and therefore avoid crude "sterilization" professed by copy centers.
Most were reproduced at 200%-400% size on Premium Luster 260g by Epson, with ample margins for display using UltraChrome, archival inks.
I have sent them over to Warsaw and therefore my father learned of the smuggling conspiracy just weeks earlier. He was delighted.

The project's DVD back-up collection is called a Baobab as for "large and exotic" family tree, although our family is small and "temperate".
Here is the original inspiration for the cover of the project's DVD archive, incredibly inspirational book by one of my most appreciated Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, consisted of our recommended reading at the Visual Arts' course on photography.
More about that course in another bog, definitely. 
More about Susan Sontag later.
More about Saturn later, defnintely.
Oh, just to make sure - I keep this book at a safe distance from Camille Paglia book....
Just our of respect for the notable adversaries.

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