The Best Picture Frame

...is one that helps make the picture.

For some time I've been scanning rolls (or downloading digicam sessions) and then, before doing any further editing or selections, playing the fresh photos as a random slideshow in GraphicConverter on the Mac. Not only can I watch them over and over at a large size, but the randomizing can reveal new connections and collisions on each cycle. I often leave it running for hours.

I've recently switched to a different slideshow program — Mac OS X itself. The "Pictures Folder" Screen Effects (screensaver) module not only cycles through folders of fresh-scanned pictures randomly, but it zooms, pans, and glides across them in a host of ways, revelaing even more possibilities as they lap-dissolve back and forth. The one fault: it won't display empty areas, so the Apple screen aspect ratio, 4::3, is used. It doesn't show 35mm images full-frame — only as cropped, panning slices.

Still, it's a terrific picture frame. Tonight I've set it on a folder full of old contact sheets — hundreds of photos, old shots seen again for the first time. It is captivating, nostalgic, hallucinatory.

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