They say if you have good eyes, your vision is 20/20. That is, you can see clearly at 20 feet what a person with normal visual acuity sees at 20 feet (6 meters for the metric minded.) This concept of good sight even gave us sayings like “hindsight is 20/20,” meaning we may not know what will happen in the future but, looking back we can see what happened. At least some of us! So, happy 2020 to all of you, may your visual acuity be as good as 20/20, and even better.
There is another link to looking back that sparked this article. As a matter of fact, it is even broader than looking back. I am talking about the time machine that fascinated SciFi writers and scientists alike. The time machine would allow the user to travel to any time in the past by simply stepping inside the machine, cabinet, car, and whoosh! You are there, at that time. Well, I have realized that a photo or film scanner is a kind of time machine. I recently purchased a new scanner* and started scanning old photographs piled in boxes or albums and even a larger number of film strips and slides and I am moving all over time.
Yes, I know, simply looking at the photographs will serve as the same, at least a similar purpose as we recall the time, and live those moments again. But, other things await you if you scan old images. Invariably, they will need some cleaning, touch-ups to remove the dust and scratches, adjustment of the faded colors or tones, and you will do all this very carefully. I have always found digital editing of photographs quite meditative, especially those taken a while back. Sitting in front of the screen and looking at the scanned images sometimes larger than life so that I can see the specks of dust help me engage with that scene, person, place, and time. If some of the photographs are close to 70-75 years old, the time travel goes into warp speed. Engage!
Of course, this kind of time travel benefits from good memories. As I was talking with a friend a short while ago, I mentioned that we have been lucky to look back and have a good time because we have enough good memories to recall. Indeed, nostalgia is the reward for getting older, and you cannot have nostalgia without good memories!
Have a little time travel, at least by looking at some old photographs. If you have a scanner, fire it up, place those photographs on the glass and scan away. Time travel can be rewarding whether you see yourself as a little kid or a father holding his kid in his arms, looking at your family members, or looking at your pets. Memories will keep bubbling up, bringing a smile to your face and mind.
Happy New Year, and may your time travels back or forward be happy and healthy.
Now, travel with me at near warp speeds.
I took the last photograph in a very simple setting, then named it Entering Singularity which represents the ultimate time travel, perhaps to a different dimension and universe through a black hole. If you stare at the blue planet you may see it falling in, traveling in time.
* I would like to thank Garry Farber and his team at Hunt’s Photo and Video for giving me a very good price on an Epson V850 Pro. It is a very good scanner.