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Why do we buy expensive digital cameras only to tweak them to emulate the lesser gear of the past? Surely it says more about us than it does the merits of pixels versus grain. Perhaps we know that while "now" can be exciting or pleasing or fun, it cannot by definition be nostalgic. And that is what we demand of our images: that they possess the tiny nicks and wrinkles of the epic life.

This image above, of my wife, was an aborted attempt at instant nostalgia. And an expensive one--I accidentally overwrote the original full-color digital negative, leaving this version as the permanent image of record. It is ironic that in my bid to achieve a timeless look, I created instead an image forever trapped between past and present.

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June 2005