Tag Archives: polaroid

Ritual

Every morning, Albert woke up before sunrise for his ritual. He climbed from bed right into his work pants, replaced the ribbed undershirt he’d slept in for a fresh, clean one, carefully put on his starched and ironed white button-down shirt, and pulled the suspenders over his shoulders.

Like all men of his day, Albert knew the importance of remaining clean-cut. After a quick visit to the kitchen, where he started the coffee, he headed back through his bedroom to the bathroom.

The bathroom ritual, after actions unmentionable in polite society, of course, included a shave, washing his face and brushing his teeth for three minutes, no more, no less. He would then pomade and brush his gray hair, wipe off his glasses on the special cloth he’d bought from the kindly door-to-door salesman, and then return to the kitchen.

Before Helen passed he’d always walked in to find some form of eggs, toast, orange juice and something from the meat group, but since her death he just couldn’t get the hang of making breakfast. He’d tried for about a year, the eggs were always either burnt or too runny, plus he always forgot to get orange juice at the market. So these days, if he even ate, it was toast and a pear from the tree that Helen planted back when they bought the small, suburban home.

The emptiness of the kitchen always got to Albert when he first walked in. The smells of the past haunted him, and he often forgot about her passing because he swore he could smell the ghosts of bacon frying in a pan. But whenever he walked in with a smile, adjusting his suspenders, his expectations were always disappointed. It was always empty, the sound of the coffee machine the only noise in the house and the counter meticulously organized and clean, just as he’d left it the night before.

And so he would stand with his back to the counter, as if talking to Helen like in the old days, and pour a coffee. But now, instead of sitting at the table, he ate at the sink, letting the crumbs of his solitary piece of toast fall directly into the empty sink. It kept him from having to wipe down the table, and since he kept the place immaculately clean, just as Helen did in her day, it saved him some time.

The final part of Albert’s ritual was to put on his tie, his shoes and his jacket. He walked up to the rack by the door, took his hat off the post, placed it on his head and opened the front door. The sun would just be rising as he turned and looked at his empty, dark home.

“I love you, honey. See you at supper,” he always whispered before he shut the door.

Advertisements

The Funereal Photographer

Alice got home from work and pulled out the vintage Polaroid camera she’d discovered at a yard sale fully loaded, an unlikely find. She took out a small cloth and cleaned the lens, then reread the directions posted on the back of the camera itself. She was ready.

She threw on a cardigan in case it got chilly as evening approached and walked to the door to look at the world through the camera. She moved it from one spot to another with a heavy sigh. After a moment she went outside to walk around and find some photo opportunities.

Wandering around her neighborhood was admittedly not the way to find great shots, but none of her friends would pose for her. If she were honest with herself, she would realize that she wasn’t really close to any of them.

The camera was exciting, but the prospect of taking photographs of flowers and trash on the road and trees and cars didn’t really feel like the ultimate use of this rare and almost magical ancient film. She wanted to capture the image of a person. To know the feeling of posing them just right followed by the satisfaction of hearing the click of the shutter.

This was the first time Alice realized that she was alone. No boyfriend. No best friend. A few acquaintances who never called her; she was always the one dialing them, asking them to go out, and then hitting end after they declined.

She walked down the empty street, dragging her hand along a chain link fence, and looked from house to house, car to car, nobody to be found. She headed for the playground in the hopes that some parent would be there pushing their child on a swing, or teaching them to ride a bike. But when she got there she realized it wasn’t right. She relaxed on a bench and watched some kids play on the nearby jungle gym.

She moved to the swingset and let the Polaroid rest on her lap, her free hand holding the chain, resting her head against the cold metal chain.

Photographs taken by me of model/makeup artist Sarah Maccarelli, whose work can be seen here. She was great to work with and was quite the actress, considering how happy and friendly she was.

The Hipsters Are Gonna Be Pissed

“Did you notice everyone is trying to seem sort of kitsch, retro and hipster these days?” he asked her.

She looked up from her computer. “Kind of. What do you mean?”

“I was looking through Vogue the other day-“

“What were you doing looking at Vogue?”

He blushed a bit. “Huh?”

“Vogue?” she pushed. She just had to know what would possess her boyfriend to pick up the magazine clearly for women.

“Oh, yeah. Marion Cotillard was on the cover.”

“Who?”

“French actress? A Very Long Engagement? Big Fish? Love Me if You Dare? You know her.”

“Oh right…her. Okay so? Hipsters in popular magazines, I believe you were saying?”

“Um…yeah. Sorry, got me off track. The photos of her all look vintage, like the photos you take.”

“Really?”

“Yup.  They’re all taken in antique-looking places. Very similar to what Urban does in their catalog. Clothing looks vintage.”

“I doubt it is.”

“I know, but still. And there’s even one with her holding an old Polaroid camera, like the ones you display in your workroom.”

“Really? I have to see this.”

“Yeah. And she’s standing in front of a bookshelf of really old books.”

“Interesting.”

“So I started picking up more mainstream mags, just looking through at the photos, and they’re the same.”

“Interesting.”

He paused to look up at her.

“You don’t find this a bit odd?”

“Not really. Mainstream always copies the obscure, the new, the hip. They don’t call them hipsters for no reason! It’s just that now mainstream has finally caught on.”

“Well, the hipsters are gonna be pissed.”

“Yes, yes they are.”