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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 …

trespasses


One of the two elevators is broken again. The floor peeks out, half-way up the doors that are cracked apart.  A light dangles from a hook. A man's dirty hands are scratching around. There is a screwdriver on the floor next to me. I see it, passing it to him without even seeing his face. He mumbles a thank you. The doors to the other elevator bang open, and I step inside.

Upstairs, I think of this scene. The doors apart, the slice of light that plays around. I think to load my camera with a fresh roll of film and go back downstairs. The film is cold, tucked into a bag in the corner of the fridge. It needs to come to room temperature before I put it into the camera or moisture might condense on it.

The roll stands on the edge of the kitchen table. I clean the camera, blow air inside it and behind the lens. I turn it over in my hands, and then the canister is warm enough and I load it. At the same time, I understand I cannot take this picture. If the man sees me, he might be furious. Documenting anyone working here, it is something a spy does, or better said - an informant. The shot is not worth it. The risk is too great. The country seems to be built on trespasses. So much is forbidden. Even the gravestones in cemeteries have little fences around them.

Then, I decide to take the elevator to the second floor, not the first and maybe I can take the picture from there and never be noticed. I pull on a black trench coat. The camera hides under my armpit.

Downstairs, I peer into the darkness of the first floor. The doors are closed. He is already gone.



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