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Friday Slide Show: The Ghosts of Childhood Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

15 May 2020

Children see life through the pinhole of their short experience. The wide view is not within their grasp. But even as adults, there is no guarantee you'll see things in perspective. Wisdom, after all, isn't inevitable.

We were at the family homestead yesterday, trying to make some progress on more mundane problems. Mom's DSL service is going away so we have to convert her setup to cable service. We took a break from the research to wander around the old place on a rainy day and take some photos.

But we were in a nostalgic mood. We saw the place through the eyes of a child. Looking out the windows to catch some glimpse of the wider world. Even if it remained obscure to us.

We saw the place through the eyes of a child.

So we shot window views with a Lensbaby pinhole optic. And because it was so dark and dreary, they were all ISO 1600 shots, averaging around 1/25 second.

They were Raw captures which we converted to DNG when we copied them to our hard drive. So there was color information, although it was very muted.

So much so, in fact, that we discarded it, choosing a contrasty black and white treatment in Lightroom that we heavily edited. We dropped the shadows to black to avoid noise as we lifted the exposure almost a stop.

On export we did not sharpen them. We had Clarity up to about 40 to begin with so resampling without sharpening would only smooth them out a bit.

Neither color nor detail were the point.

The images were ghostly visions. Vague. Suggestive rather than illustrative. You can make things out only by their silhouette. Steins, chairs, frames, lamps, decorative objects.

And beyond the windows, most of them covered, there are only hints of the larger world. What can you see? Another window across the way or a planter box or a tree or whatever little hint reveals itself in the highlights of the windows.

The images are unlike anything we've ever shot before. But they came quite naturally when we lined up the first one in the viewfinder.

We think we know why. You are always a child when you return home, no matter how old you are.

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