terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Legacies

I went with the cousin to a hole-in-the-wall antique shop in Telok Ayer today to have a look at some silver prints that had been given away because the owner passed away recently.

They were prints (roughly A3 sized) of Singapore in the 1950s and 60s and some have even been exhibited, going by the labels on the back of some of the mounted ones. Though the quality wasn't all that great (that is, they won't be anywhere near 'mint' condition), they were, otherwise, all very good shots of kampongs, cottage industries (including one kick-ass photo of either a man hanging out sheets at an outdoor laundry or a man hanging out sheets of rubber) and, generally, of life in Singapore 'way back when' -- much of which is gone now*. The photographer obviously exercised a lot of care in the composition of the photos and experimented with the negatives in the darkroom: there were several prints of the same scene, but each was unique in that it was cropped differently or treated differently in the darkroom.

In other words, there was a lot of time and love that had gone into each of the prints.

It's sad then, that the man's children or grandchildren decided that these photographs were not worth the paper they were printed on and chose to give them to the shop. It makes me wonder where I'm going with this photography thing and if all I'll leave my kids are the prints that they, if they are to be brought up in modern-throw-away-everything-that's-old-and-worthless-Singapore, too, will discard eventually.

Anyway, the cousin picked out 22 prints and we're going back to the shop on Saturday to narrow it down some more. Might be tempted to buy some myself.


* Speaking of things gone or going: the National Library at its present site closes its doors to the public forever later today. I'll be there.

With a camera, of course. I will need something to remember my childhood by when I'm away from here.

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