When I bought this camera, I hated taking pictures. I bought it because of the priest. He was on sabbatical, traveling around America, and we met at the hostel. We decided to go to the Museum of Science and Industry together. He already had a camera. I felt conspicuous as a tourist without a camera, especially in the eyes of a man on God’s side whose specialty was knowing normal from sin, so I bought this disposable camera at the museum shop. I wanted to be normal and unmemorable in front of God’s representative.
I always felt it was rude to take photographs of things or people. I really felt like I was taking a picture, taking it away from the person or the scene. Owning it, keeping it, looking at it by myself in my room, at night, in the dark. Photographing and photographs are creepy.
But I took some pictures with the camera on the trip to the museum. I was perfectly normal if God happened to look. I doubt I took one of the priest. I don’t really remember what I took photos of. I train set, I think. And when I got home, there was film left in the camera. “Finishing the film” is one of the great practices that has died with digital photography. No photos of your plants, your cat, your own shadow, at the end of the reel. I didn’t mind taking those kinds of photographs.
There are only two photos on this camera I remember taking: one of the train set at the museum, and one of my ex in a thrift shop. I was “finishing the film” for that last one.
I never developed the photos. I know there are people out there, whom I assume are artists or art students or filmmakers or master collagers, who collect other people’s photos and films, the B-roll of humanity. I hope one of those people will find this film useful, or at least interesting. They’ll know one more thing about the photos by going though the Object Ethnography Project than if they would have come across the camera in the Salvation Army: the following photos were taken in the presence of a priest.
— hand delivered in New York City
A disposable camera!
How often do you see these? At weddings, where they serve the magical purpose of showing strangers’– or at least often– perspectives.
I want to add my own mix of frames to tell a story with the images already on there- and the fact that I have no idea what they are makes it all the better in telling the story– like the madlibs/foldover story where one person writes a sentence and folds over the paper and someone else continues it without seeing it…
[stay tuned for the exquisite corpse photo project, to be posted here when it is complete]