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any moment, liminal, something broken, love2, they scanned the earth

any moment, liminal, something broken, love2, they scanned the earth


by Patty Paine

I’ve been taking photos and collecting vintage slides, photographs, and negatives for many years. I digitize the vintage slides and negatives and post them on Instagram at Negative Recovery Project. I hoped to reunite these lost images with their families and rescue the people in the images from anonymity. My family’s past is shrouded in abandonment and mental illness, so my obsession with lost images probably stems from a desire to make the past—any past—knowable, tangible.

While engaged in the act of preserving these images, I also became obsessed with the idea of altering the images to both destroy and create. I use vintage images, negatives, Polaroids, and my own images as the basis for these un/re-creations. I use various processes to alter the images–everything from chemical baths, film soups, and dye infusions to burning, abrading, and cutting up and collaging the fragments. For Polaroids, I also used emulsion lifting and transferring. I also create collages, sometimes from my own images and re-creations and sometimes from vintage text and images.

In addition, when text is incorporated into my images, it’s much more abstract than in my poetry. My intention is for the image and text to be read together while not privileging one medium over the other.

The Process For These Images

  • any moment: alternative processing, emulsion lift, and collage
  • liminal: alternative processing
  • something broken: intentional glitching
  • love2: digital collage
  • they scanned the earth: digital collage

Patty Paine is the author of Grief & Other Animals (Accents Publishing), The Sounding Machine (Accents Publishing), and three chapbooks. She edited Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry and The Donkey Lady and Other Tales from the Arabian Gulf. Her writing and visual work have appeared in Blackbird, Adroit, Gulf Stream, Waxwing, Thrush, ctrl-v, The South Dakota Review, and other publications. She is the founding editor of Diode Poetry Journal and Diode Editions and is Director of Liberal Arts & Sciences at VCUarts Qatar.

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