29 February 2020
28 February 2020
27 February 2020
26 February 2020
I took a trio of middle school kids to shoot polaroids at a local doughnut shop.
in another life, I taught for an after school program in portland, oregon. while my digital photography class was wildly popular, my instant photography class was not. three girls signed up (one of which, admittedly, was my own daughter), as opposed to the fifteen that enrolled for the digital. I think I can now openly admit just how much I favored this little polaroid group, impromptu doughnut shop photo shoot merely exhibit A in a long line of damning evidence.
we went through at least five boxes of pack film that day, consumed at least a dozen doughnuts. when we finally finished, our table was a spectacular mess of peel-apart photographs and empty milk cartons.
I was in love with the idea of a future that included a few kids with a heart for the past.
25 February 2020
I found a package of bologna in the lamp section at walmart. sitting on the shelf there, nestled between chunky ceramic bases and a stack of shades in the middle of a sea of cheap lamps, nestled between a few chunky ceramic bases and a stack of shades as fleshy pink as the lunch meat itself. as if the potential buyer took one look at the sea of lamps and thought, I've got to make some changes. as if they suddenly surveyed the items in their cart and thought, what am I doing with this bologna. what. am I doing.
24 February 2020
23 February 2020
I stood in a south atlanta parking lot in the middle of april. watched a gaggle of kids pop wheelies as they rode past, watched as they looked in my direction for some sort of reaction. listened to the shriek of the marta train every ten minutes, felt the high sun hot on my neck at three in the afternoon. felt that for once I was in the right place at the right time.
22 February 2020
21 February 2020
I fell in love with a laundromat because someone thought to collect a rainbow of empty laundry detergent screw caps and place them next to the change machine so that people could use them to hold their many quarters while they went about the business of washing and drying clothes.
20 February 2020
I drove to a stretch of the pacific ocean I'd never been to before. on the way there, I stopped whenever I felt like it. for roadside cherry stands, for strange flowers, junk shops, lone phone booths. I drove until I hit limantour beach and my hands itched from the steady hum of the steering wheel, until I was dizzy from both the constant curves of the road and the thrill of the great alone. until the ocean was all I could see, hear, smell, feel.
19 February 2020
I spent an entire saturday afternoon at an accordion festival.
accordions, everywhere. stacked lovingly on tables where the light seemed to hit them just right, with names as exotic and melodic as the sounds that came wheezing out of them all afternoon. big, beautiful accordions in the hands of women, men and children, all ages, all backgrounds, strolling and playing, and then some up on stages scattered throughout the park and then the rest of us dancing, or at the very least swaying, and smiling so much our cheeks hurt.
18 February 2020
17 February 2020
while we were driving across the country, we stumbled onto a fence full of shoes in the middle of nowhere. or, what felt like the middle of nowhere. we'd been on the road nine days and were somewhere in the state of california on highway 67. but also, in the ether of the great in between. in between portland, oregon and atlanta, georgia. in between old city and new city. old home, new home. old life, new life. here, there. invariably, nowhere and everywhere.
16 February 2020
we drove in pouring rain all the way to the end of sanibel island for orange crunch cake. on the drive back, we rounded a corner and found the sky on fire. we did not hem, we did not haw, we promptly pulled over and got out of the car.
I stood there, face full of pink fire and thought, this is what we live for.
15 February 2020
I spotted a man in a lemon yellow jester's hat at the local library. just walking around, armful of books, head full of jester. on a weekday morning, no less. he was not there with children, he did not lead the story hour. he was just a man, checking out books. in a lemon yellow jester's hat.
I got no work done that morning. I had no right but I wanted answers.
14 February 2020
while we were sitting at the table in the backyard, ava told me that blowing bubbles calmed her. like maybe the same way smoking does for some people.
I couldn't help but think of a world where people step outside to take a break and blow bubbles every couple of hours to calm their nerves. or hold small plastic bubble wands between their fingers while they knock back a few drinks at the pub down on the corner.
13 February 2020
12 February 2020
11 February 2020
10 February 2020
ava bought a used book at the tea house and when she opened it, found a small photobooth frame wedged deep between the yellowed pages. pictured in the frame was a youngish man with longish hair. nineteen seventy something, I am sure of it.
it was as good as finding money. and it felt a little bit like maybe we'd completed some sort mysterious lost and found circuit-- what, with the lost chinatown polaroid and all.
as if balance, somehow, had been restored.
09 February 2020
in columbus, georgia, I found myself on a path that bordered the chattahoochee river. as I stood and looked out over the water, I heard a soft whizzing sound overhead. I looked up, saw a pair of dangling legs and realized they belonged to a man ziplining over the river from the state of alabama over to where I stood in the state of georgia.
there were others, too. in harnesses and hats, woohooing their way back and forth, from alabama to georgia, georgia to alabama. bodies in the sky on a saturday afternoon, attempting flight.
as we are all trying to do, I suppose, in our own particular way.
08 February 2020
07 February 2020
while on the road to florida, we stopped to pick up a few things. sunscreen, bubbles, cheetos. while we were shopping, ezra found a shell pink shirt with a pale yellow sun on the front. worlds different than any article of clothing he'd ever picked out for himself before.
this will be my summer shirt, he said.
this will be the beginning of my new look.
I threw it in the cart. wanted to smile but didn't. he put it on as soon as we got back to the hotel, barely took it off all summer long. the slightest pivot, the smallest beginning.
06 February 2020
while we were driving back from the georgia coast, I made ward pull over for peaches. even though we didn't believe there would be peaches, that if they'd had any, they wouldn't be any good, since peaches wouldn't be in season for at least another three or four months.
this is the power of the hand-painted sign.
05 February 2020
I lost a polaroid portrait of ava in chinatown, somewhere between pell and mott street, I think. She'd stood at the mouth of doyers while sunlight sliced through buildings behind her, turned to look at me and, I made the picture. and then let out a long, slow breath like I do when I think something might be good.
I dumped my bags upside down that night, I couldn't believe it was gone. I have never lost a polaroid, never. ever. I wonder if someone stopped to pick it up. if they took it home, tacked it up on the wall. if they make up stories about it. I wonder if it'll eventually end up at the fleamarket in a box with all the other found photographs.
I wonder if I remember her more vividly in that moment precisely because I lost the polaroid.
these are all things I wonder.
04 February 2020
while I was at the laundromat, I was approached by an older man. your clothes will dry faster if you put smaller amounts into multiple dryers, he said. I knew this already but smiled, said thank you.
twenty minutes later we stood at neighboring formica tables, folding towels, stacking them in small, soft towers. he began, in earnest, to talk about his family. about his daughter, his granddaughters. about divorce. about disney world. his sweatshirt was the color of eggs, faint plume of grease down the front. I have pictures, he said. and then packed a blue plastic basket with his folded laundry and promptly left.
ten minutes later, he returned, thick stack of photos in hand. one hundred, maybe two hundred total. he saw me, his eyes lit up.
what else could I do but look at every single one?
03 February 2020
I sat with two friends at a small white table at cafe du monde in new orleans. we drank cups of hot coffee with chicory and ate beignets until our fingers were sticky with sugar and evening light dimmed to blue. I noticed our server outside the cafe on a smoke break, perched on top of a cement street bollard. legs dangling, cigarette dangling. I wandered outside, asked her how long she'd been working. too long, she said and I nodded. I looked down, noticed her boots. pointed my camera at them and she smiled.
powdered sugar, she said.
I can't get away from it.
02 February 2020
I spent an entire saturday morning in bed reading once by wim wenders, a book that was given to me several years ago by my good friend jen, a book I have read many times. I wondered, could I write small stories like this every day for one year? share photographs and stories of places I have been, people I have been and/or known, things seen and/or felt, could I do this every day for one year?
yes, I thought maybe I could, maybe I should.