I remember the days of pen pals. You had one or two long distance friends who you wrote letters to periodically and occasionally sent a photo from your holiday. These were the pre-Internet days, and whilst youngsters may imagine such times as horribly tedious and inconvenient compared to modern times when you can send or share with someone across the world using your iPhone whilst sat on the sofa watching Netflix, those times were actually quite special. Why? Because of the fact that someone has taken the time to write you a letter, take it to the letterbox, and post it. That act in itself is meaningful.
And as a recipient, it was quite exciting to receive a response a week or two later, after you sent something to your pen pal.
In the film photography community, whilst it is now nicely connected via social media platforms and websites (and a new site I am building called www.thefilmphotographersmap.com, not open for registration yet) which helps us all connect, there is still that spirit of the pen pal.
In recent months I have become a “virtual friend” with a chap called James Lee from the Classic Camera Revival Podcast, hosted from Canada and of James Lee Photography (http://jamesleephoto.com). I noticed one of his Infrared black and white photos online some months ago and it blew me away. It was one of the finest black and white pictures I’d ever seen. If you wanted a photo of a dramatic heaven, this picture was it.
Reading my comment, he kindly offered to make me a print and post it to me, all the way to here in the UK. I received it today, along with a little letter. It took me back to the feelings I had in the 1980’s as a youngster receiving something from my pen pal.
Thank you James for the wonderful print and for going to such lengths to make it for me in your darkroom. Special times!