Sifting through the layers

I’ve been siftin’through the layers
   Of dusty books and faded papers;
And they tell a story I used to know,
   One that happened so long ago.
                               Kate Wolf 

Hernando Desoto Bridge under construction - 1969

I was talking with Memphis film maker Willy Bearden the other night about what would happen to the photographs I have taken over the past 40 years or so, should I meet my demise.  My conclusion was that the piles of black and white negatives and proof sheets, the thousands of Kodachrome slides, and thousands of color pictures and negatives, not to mention the digital images stored here and there, would probably just be tossed out with the trash.  Willy mentioned 2 words “negative scanner”, and that fired me up.  I ordered one the next day, and since it arrived via FedEx, I have been scanning my B&W photos, and trying to put them in some sort of order.

Furry Lewis

Blues Legend Furry Lewis at River City Blues Festival - 1973

There is some good stuff in those photos.  Things and people that have changed over the years; things and people that aren’t around anymore.  This project is going to take quite a while, but it will result in a package – the Joe Spake Archives – for whatever that’s worth to someone in the future.

It’s amazing how the mundane becomes important , or at least significant, when it is aged a few years.  As I work through the B&W negatives dating back to 1969, I am posting them on Flickr.  I even started a photo blog Sifting through the Layers.  If you care to check out the images in either place I  would appreciate your comments.  [9/9/2011 -The URL for the new photo blog is not resolving correctly on some browsers.  If the link above doesn’t work, try this one  Sifting through the Layers]

Billy Joel - Memphis

Billy Joel at Lafayette's Music Room - Memphis - March, 1974

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Joe Spake is a Memphis-based Real Estate Broker and Consultant. He blogs at Joe Spake's Weblog and Memphis Real Estate Buzz. Joe's Social Network.

  • Greg Traver

    Hey Joe! I enjoyed “No Excuses” and certainly can relate. There just never seems to be enough time to get everything done, but it sure keeps life interesting, huh? I got your RSS Feed ( my personal favorite ) and next time through I will have to try out your new FB widget. Keep up the good work!

  • Thanks Greg. I appreciate your taking the time to comment. You have to keep your priorities straight to have a rewarding life with meaning. Thanks for your suppor of the blog!! I wish all my readers would take a moment to comment.

  • Bodkin6071

    looking forward to the Billy Joel pix. I believe that was the concert that was broadcast on FM 100 as well?

  • The Billy Joel pix I took at Lafayette’s Music Room are in my Flickr stream –

  • Bodkin6071

    I have the May 1974 Billy Joel concert up on youtube, here’s one video, of “Piano Man”.


  • Amazing stuff, Bodkin6071. I listened to 3 of the tracks. Quality is great. was it recorded directly off the board?

  • Bodkin6071

    I believe so, or it was off the FM100 feed…

  • Bodkin6071

    Here Joe, someone else uploaded the same show, but in its complete entirety.

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