I have a really weird memory. I can look at a sheet of negatives from 20 years ago and remember each one – what I was thinking, why I photographed the scene and why it was important to me. That said, I can spend several days coding a program at work and a couple of weeks later not remember much about it.
It was in this context when the other day I was looking through a pile of prints, searching for one that I need to reprint. My contact sheets are horrid, as they are for identification only. Oftentimes I will then select a group from the sheet and make straight prints to get a little more detail and help me decide whether or not to begin making a real print. Sometimes these prints get tossed in the trash, other times they get put into a pile, which is where I found myself when I came across this print.
I remembered nothing about it. Nothing at all. This did not make much sense – if I saw two people in an altercation and took a picture, I surely must have remembered it. Seriously, if you see one person pounding on someone else then it will not be forgotten. I continued looking and flat nothing came to mind.
Flipping the print over I got the contact sheet page and location information of the negative. Seeing the other negatives around it I realized what this was and why I did not remember it. There were a couple of details in the print that I had not noticed, for some reason. One was that the person who appeared to be winning the fight was not clinching his fists, so this was not a fight. The other was the sign in the background that referenced “WAREHOUSE.” Mystery solved – this shot was taken during batting practice before an Orioles game and these guys were going after a ball that had landed on Eutaw Street. Sigh.