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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 …

where are the lovely strawberries


When I fell asleep as a boy, it was to a Pete Seeger record. I can still remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of it skipping, the needle rubbing against the center of the disc. There was something welcome about that sound, that habit, the repeat of the repeating. 

Now, I wake up to these long distance calls to home. Well, the news. The stories, the comments, the rhetoric, the bubble, the gif, the joke version, the annoyed version, the simple version, the reshared version. The story is on repeat. The grinder turns, the meat comes out, the sausage filled, shipped, sold, cooked, inhaled, shit out and then all over again. 

Last week, I saw more friends check out. More people left the conversation, the platform, the circus. It reminded me of the exodus of expats from Moscow four years ago. If you could get out, you did and never looked back. 

I built a gas station last week. A middle of the night story. A woman, alone. An old black car. A motorcycle swings past in the distance. I made all of this inside a piece of software. A story built from pictures, fleshed out with lights and shadow, a camera drifting and focusing. It all happened in a corner of the living room, while meat roasted in the oven, while the baby was on the playground with my wife, while E was in school. One lonely gas station, and it took days but when it was done I found it to be profoundly satisfying. I watched it, over and again. 

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