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there is always something (why I shoot film)

There are maybe ten shots left on the roll. Outside the metro, a collection of pigeons sit on minuscule ledges above two old men. They talk as all old men do, with operatic waves of their hands, sour expressions, belly laughs, eventually scratching their chins as they stare off at nothing in particular. I am pretending to take pictures of something near them, then swing across when they are not looking to shoot a few frames. At one point I surrender to the afternoon and move on.

And now, the courtyard that leads to the film lab. A great old building rests here, a school of architecture where students mill around dressed in black sucking on cigarettes with giant portfolios tucked under their arms. A young man approaches me. I am ready to tell him I have no idea what he is saying, but he wants to know where the film lab is. I jut my chin, telling him the door is just beyond a few bushes. He nods his thanks.

There are screens set up in a jagged line, sheathed in filthy white plastic to …

babel


The door to a shed yawns open, empty inside. It stays this way when it rains, when the sky is crammed with clouds. I check every time I pass it. There were some plastic bins in the grass that someone took, tossed aside like a child's toys. A man hole cover rests, a crescent shadow on one side that leads down beneath the street, maybe to wires, maybe to pipes or maybe to nothing.

A pile of bricks stand, a makeshift babel, a marker. Is a family pet buried here? Is this just a balancing act? I take pictures of it once, and then again. The weeds are growing tall here. It is a minor miracle, that no one has knocked it down. Not even the fresh hurricane that swept through the city last week could topple it. Black clouds swirling above buildings like a comic book's last act, rain smacking against windows, streets flooding and these bricks remain.

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