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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 …

anything was possible (suffer no more)


E carries a little bag with camera batteries, hovering behind my shoulder peeking at the monitor. Her mouth twists a little, eyes on me, then back to the monitor. I explain to her what I am trying to say with this shot, how well it is working. She nods, not a word, just that knowing look. It is the very last scene to shoot, a young man leaving his work and heading home. I am trying to expand that moment when the tie is loosened, that long wait for a street light to turn green and then the crowd walking across, how a person can get lost in this moment.

All of the stories from this little film are lives I have led or witnessed. The betrayals, the arguments in living rooms, the date that became a short affair ending as abruptly as it began, the weight of the everyday, the dread of confrontation, the sad hope for more. The characters are young, except for one.  These are little glimpses, broken pieces of a collective life.

There are trains, and streetlights, people staring, leather jackets and an old man closing his eyes as the wind whips into his face. These all came from my past, my days in New York when messages wobbled from answering machines when you got home drunk, tripping over the mess you had left behind. That was when anything was possible but the mood was that nothing was possible.






Comments

liv said…
I...I don't even know what to say.

This is absolutely top notch.
The song is beautiful - thanks for the introduction to this artist. And your sensitivity and skill in bringing his words to the visual was w o n d e r f u l !

I am so proud of you I could just burst.

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