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when light turns to dust - from a series of discarded negatives - 2005 - © Lloyd Godman - click here for free PDF version - 2.11mb

when light turns to dust, lloyd godman


When Light Turns to Dust

We have lived in the same house for nearly 30 years, but it was only during the summer of 2002-3, that I discovered a series of old negatives had been left on the ground in the cellar by a previous owner. My shock discovery led to an instant eagerness to bring them into the light and view the mysterious images, discover something of the previous owner and the people and places that might be in the images. I figured that these abandoned negatives should hold the residue of a previous light encounter embedded onto the surface, should retain a history of light locked away in silver, that they would reveal moments from a Bartesian death to the discoverer. But my expectations were shattered; the ravages of time had taken its toll on the images. Virtually all the silver embedded gelatin had been eaten away leaving only the faintest of traces. The memory of the people, events and places that were once held on the negatives had effectively been eroded through time until nothing recognizable was left. Yet, despite this complete dissolving of memory, there was a stunning image on each negative. The reference to light had been replaced with decades of dust, dirt and clay fragments which had replaced the silver with its own intricate, abstracts patterns. I was holding a new artifact, the evidence of light transcending to dust.

Lloyd Godman