So I finally bought a new monitor this week. I went with the Dell UltraSharp twenty seven inch one. It’s big and takes some getting used to but I like it so far. It gives me a lot of room to work. But one unexpected thing came with it. A strange sense of nostalgia.

The nostalgia actually isn’t directly related to the new screen. It’s related in a more roundabout way. Y’see the new screen is a high resolution one. That means that all of my desktop pictures (wallpapers) are too low res to display properly on it. I like to change background pictures fairly often so because of the new monitor I need a whole new set of pictures.

Sometimes I use my own photos as backgrounds and sometimes I find things on the internet. I gave a quick look on the web but didn’t see anything I liked. So I decided to look through some of my own photos.

I like to take candid shots. When I worked in NYC I would to get in to the city early on summer Fridays. Good Morning America would put on a concert in Bryant Park featuring whatever pop star was out promoting that week. I would use the opportunity to walk among the crowd and take pictures of people. The performers too but I usually found the crowd more interesting.

It was a challenging environment in which to take pictures. People were constantly milling about and angles and compositions would be gone in an instant. Plus I had to be inconspicuous as I snapped so as not to ruin the candid nature of what I was after. Luckily there was a concert going on to distract everyone.

This all took place in the summers of 2004 and 2005. I worked with the photos back then but haven’t looked at them much since. There are some good ones and, due to the nature of candid photography, lots of bad ones. It was this Bryant Park set that I decided to mine for possible desktop backgrounds.

Photography is a strange medium. It captures life like images and all over detail almost effortlessly. It freezes moments in time like nothing else. As a consequence it leaves the person looking at the photo with a whole lot of things to make sense of. And it opens up the imagination to create all sorts of stories.

What does that look mean? Fleeting glances become forever trapped in a photo. Who is this stranger I am taking a picture of? Their clothes, their food, their drink, their hair, their bags, and everything else around them in a photo tells a story. A story to be filled in by the viewer.

And that is what I do as I look at these pictures. I fill in stories. I can’t help it. It’s how my mind works. But what was funny to me was the nostalgia I had for these stories about these people in pictures. People I don’t even know. I was wondering who they were even as they now looked familiar to me because I had worked on these photos back in 2005.

Some of them showed up in a few pictures. They were most familiar. Subjects I liked so I tried a few times to get a good photo. I failed more than I succeeded but all of the photos add to the story.

Some of the people who worked the event were there every week so I have multiple picture of them in different outfits and such. They have the most expansive stories as I look through the photos. But I don’t really know them at all. Not a name to be found among them. Yet they are familiar to me and I feel a sense of nostalgia as if I knew them in the past. Strange.

I have no name for this weird type of nostalgia that looking through photos of strangers I took picture of years ago has brought upon me. I don’t know them or their real stories. Just the ones that came into my head then and now. I guess we did share some good times in Bryant Park listening to live music but not really. I bet the French have a name for this type of nostalgia. They’re good at naming such things.