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Captured past to present actualization

I spent a while on Saturday carefully traversing through the landscape of what had been the digital equivalent of dusty, weather stained photographs. Most were from what I consider now to be years that were both supremely underappreciated and indubitably formative. Both of those realities impress upon me how where I was, where I’ve traveled, where I am and where I’m going are inextricably linked.

Let me be more clear. Martin Scorsese, in accepting the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award quoted William Faulkner in saying: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (the line is from his Requiem for a Nun). While I’m going to keep the bulk of my genuflection (and excoriation) to myself, this is an imminently important statement. And the realization of this declarative is facilitated through film and photography.

As if they were visual missives sent from the past, sometimes over 10 years ago, I stopped at each photograph to look at myself. My friends. My life. My place. Each one revealing itself as a puzzle piece in the complex anthropology of my self. There were regrets of time lost. Distanced friends. Altered relationships. There was a longing for an unbridled and youthful exuberance and anticipation. There was a puzzling curiosity in the equation that had drawn me from point A to point B. And that curiosity led me to one of the most alarmingly simple of insights to come from the entire experience. The forces and choices that have shaped my life are not past, or dead. They are very much present. The curiosity that leads me to wonder how I’ve come to this point in my life is satiated with the knowledge that every step of the way was a choice, sometimes captured in a photograph or a film. And as I vault quickly from point B to point C in my life the “regrets” and “youth” and “anticipation” are forces that are cumulative and iterative, not discrete. The young man in those photographs embarked upon a series of choices. Informed by those choices, the young man typing these words, catalyzed by the viewing of those images, will do the same.

What will the man see when he looks at these words - and those photos - again in 10 years?

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