I remember, back in the day, poring over contact sheets, carefully making a selection of what to print, and then filing the contact sheets away alongside the negatives. I didn't give much thought to the "rejects," though every couple years I'd go back and revisit my old contact sheets just to make sure I hadn't overlooked anything. It always amazed me how often an image somewhere close to the one I thought was the "winner" would suddenly stand out or have more meaning or look brand new.
As a digital shooter, I now revisit RAW files that I save to my hard drive. I don't save everything because of space constraints, but I feel like I save enough to make the revisits exciting and worthwhile. And here's what I've learned:
With every new book I read, trip I make, person I meet, song I hear, play I see, heartbreak I feel, loss I experience, and joy I celebrate, my perspective changes. It's no wonder, then, that the way I view and interpret my older images transforms over time. New insights, new lessons learned, and a more mature point of view converge, and I am frequently gifted with a handful of new old images to enjoy for the very first time.
It's not that I didn't see them before. It's just that I see them differently now.