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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 …

proof, or not (it all matters)


We all have our sweet tooth, our weakness. Honestly, there is nothing inherently easy about pictures of children on playgrounds, or empty swing sets, or old men playing accordions, or faces behind the windows of train cars. But we may have seen enough of them at this point. Maybe not. I like to go out with a camera in my bag and take no pictures, just walking, my head craning around corners. Sometimes that magnificent collision of life and lens, f-stop and shutter happens, on other days it does not. Like a lottery, like fishing, you have to put your pole in the water - a leap of faith, a little wish or something you just imagined you might find in the world. I have come to believe that the act of intention, the process is what counts With a picture as proof, or not - it all matters. 

A week ago, there was an hour or two before V's birthday party. The house smelled of good food, the dishes were in perfect little stacks on the table. The wine was getting good and cold. We were all showered and changed. V wanted to dance, and we wiggled around in the bedroom, me acting like an electric eel her like a baby swan. We ran from one end of the room to the other, lip syncing to Stevie Wonder. Her laughter arrived in great waves, splashing into the hallway. I might have taken a picture then, but decided to just enjoy the moment for what it was. Something fleeting, and inspired. 



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