So Kaleb comes to me one day a little while ago with a tweet (or a tweet-turned-video-turned-Instagram-aggregated-whatever I’m too old for this nonsense) that said, give or take a little depending on actual circumstances, you’ll probably see your out-of-town friends another 15 or so times. In your life. Forever.
At first I thought, that’s insane. I’m 36, I’m going to see my friends 100 more times, maybe more. But Kaleb said, actually think about it. When was the last time you went to Toronto? Three or four years? Or Lillooet, two or three? Say you travel for another 45 years. Divide that by three or four and whoops, look at that, 15 more times. Good grief.
This hit me again when I visited very dear friends in Toronto in January and saw the last photo I took of them in a frame on a shelf. It was from 2019.
It’s just some random tweet from some random guy, but because it felt unnervingly accurate I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I’ve been getting less and less shy about asking my friends and family, especially the ones who live far away, to let me take their picture more regularly, and this revelation makes me feel like I should be taking even more. So this time I took photos while they cooked eggs for us to eat (Ajay makes a much better poached egg than I do anyway). I took glamour shots of Lou, new furry addition to the family since I was last there, while waiting for them to get dressed before we left the house. I took photos of the bookshelves they built in the apartment they’ll, sooner or later, have to leave.
So to pick up the theme from last month’s email, pretty and perfect and curated and controlled doesn’t have anything to do with it. (though as you can see, my friends happen to be quite attractive. I make no apologies for them.) It’s a record, a thread. And it doesn’t have to be anything other than what it is. It connects our past selves to our present ones, my life to theirs.
I get this same feeling of moments and threads from accounts like Anonymous Photo Project that share old photos of people doing regular, often downright mundane, things like sitting on the couch, shovelling snow, wearing a party hat, feeding beer to a baby. Life is absurd. These are the things I want to see and so they’re the photos I want to make
If you’ll indulge me with a little melodrama, I’ll tell you I’m pretty ok with the steady march toward my own demise. It’s the steady march of my people toward theirs that makes me feel a little squirmy. Taking endless pictures of the faces of the people I love (just ask Kaleb. I’m shocked I can capture anything more than I eye roll anymore) helps a little.
p.s. If you’d like me to take some pictures of you and your people, just drop me a line <3