About a year-and-a-half ago, I learned that I have "lost" roughly 8000 of my original photographs!
Oh, I know exactly where they are, more or less; but still, they are most likely lost to me for all time.
My images and artwork are represented on a world-wide basis ... some via websites that I manage, others by agencies in New York City, Chicago, North Dakota and other locations in the U.S. . The owner of one of the agencies passed away ... about a year-and-a-half ago ... and his family decided to dissolve the business.
Some months after the owner's death, his family began the daunting task of sorting about 500,000 thirty-five millimeter slides ... by photographer ... then boxing and mailing them. The slides were filed by subject, NOT photographer so you can just imagine the scope of such a project.
I waited a good year after being notified of the death of both my agent and his agency and then, I inquired about my 8000 slides. Long story short, after a second inquiry some months after the first, the owner's widow expressed her sadness and devastation and lamented ... "I doubt that I can get through all of the slides in my lifetime."
She informed me that she would send the 621 slides she had to date set aside for me ... which she did ... they arrived yesterday ... and I promised her I would make no further requests. I wished her and her family peace and I assume, that-is-that.
The age of digital photography which began seriously about ten years ago, made sending slides in plastic, 20-pocket pages, a needless phenomenon. These days, all submissions to agents and publishers are digital ... uploaded via FTP (file transfer protocol applications), key words embedded, no mailing ... slides/film are scanned, every image backed up and kept by photographer, agent, publisher ... it's a "have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too" deal.
I'd love to have my other 7400 "lost" slides, I truly would; but my loss is insignificant when contrasted with a family that lost a husband and a father ... a human being. I might get back to Baseball's Hall of Fame and retake the shots I got there many years ago ... and while I'll never get back to Philadelphia's Vet Stadium to get another shot of Mike Schmidt playing third (the Vet is demolished and Schmitty is retired) ... in the BIG PICTURE ...
Do I miss my photos ... of course; and do I hold out hope for their return ... somewhat.
But when an individual loses a loved one, he or she is likely to wish for their return ...
And I cannot think of anything more painful than a wish that holds no hope.
In perspective, the slides matter little ... but the memories are still mine.
Peace to you and your family, Andrea.
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