I grew up north of Grand Rapids, in a rural town with more corn stalks than people. My parents still live in the same small house that we moved to when I was two years old. I was able to spend a few days under that roof before I began my artist residency at Have Company. The feelings of being home quickly returned: the sound of the floor creaking under my feet, the sight of the long sun setting below that same dip in the trees, the feel of wispy grasses on my calves.
I’ve been mapping these quiet moments with an SX-70 Polaroid camera that I picked up on Craigslist. Too often, I am quick to snap several images of the same scene with my phone, adjusting the lighting and the angle of my wrist. But these photos are ephemeral. They stay horded on my phone and then eventually saved to a hard drive or the mysterious Cloud. Even though these files can be backed up and protected, they are not as precious and their impact is not as meaningful. I cannot hold these photos in my hand. Because lets face it, I’m too lazy to get them printed and can’t even begin to calculate the cost of printing the 2600+ photos that currently reside on my phone.
But the images made with instant film already live more vividly in my head. Restricted to only eight frames per pack, I had to be extra vigilant with what I chose to capture. And then I quickly shielded them in the dark and tried to only peek once during that first hour of development. And now I find myself flipping back through these photos; the interaction is both tactile and visual. Although the images are mundane (the roll of fence that my dad took down, a coffee date, me showing off a new tattoo), these small moments are much more memorable than some perfectly framed photograph that interrupted the flow of my actual experience.
Be encouraged to take things slow and to experience more richly. Strive to capture moments in unique ways: write a poem or pick a flower to press, savor the feel of the air on your skin. Make your memories three-dimensional.
Tracy Guajardo was at Have Company July 18-24 to participate, metalsmith, teach, & share
Tracy Rose Guajardo is a silversmith, space-maker, coffee pourer, and desert dweller who accidentally turns everything into sculptures. All images were made using Impossible Film color frames edition for SX-70.