Photographer Madam, I can’t. Your light. That flashing light. Flashes of smiles. Smiles as you flash. Why miles-long smiles in mile-long flashes of dark and light?
Screams at the white rolls of paper.
White on extra white. Giant orb light over my head.
Light over darkness – not this light over a child’s darkness. This is no fun. He wishes not to be a part of the spectacle. Little, unwilling, uncooperative boy behind flashes.
Everyone takes a breath and try not to look at him. He plays quietly.
Lights turn on again.
He lights his paths, self-determined little man in adult worlds.
Beauty is someone else’s wish. A picture frame with smiling offspring and those bearers of the future’s weights
To adorn a wall where aunts and uncles and grandparents can say ‘Oh how lovely! That’s a great photograph!’
Making memories of forced moments.
The studio is silent. Shutters are closed.
Every morning I walk to the back of my house, to this brick construct, fourteen by seventeen feet, just enough creative space. I still go to work. I don’t have a sense of what that means, just that the routine makes sense even if the hours are empty.
The smell of perfume and powder, cologne and bass voices, shrill screams and breathless laughter, pitter pattering of little feet running off-frame no longer linger there. Dirty footprints on white paper backdrops rolled up now, hanging silent overhead.
I clean the lens from time to time with a tiny brush that gets between tight spaces.
Test the shutter.
The familiar sound provides momentary relief. As though something is happening. Addictive sound. I want to hear more.
Chair. Chi chik. Book. Chi chik. Pen. Chi chik
I pull the curtains and experiment with light.
I find myself in the small kitchen space.
Coffee cup with inscription: “I shoot people”. Chi chik.
I pair the cup with the French Press, change my f stop.
f/2. Chi chik.
I look at my camera. I like the mood of this photograph, the blurred out French press, just a suggestion behind that cup. I realize, for the first time, it isn’t just a press there. There is also tile work.
The things we take for granted.
The child screams. He hates white. It makes him think of the hospital. Everything is whitewashed. The lights hurt his eyes and the whites scare him. Either way, he is terrified. He resumes normalcy when everything is turned off. Amiable, happy, child like.
My studio. This memory making place. Some people put no priority on memories. At least not some of those little people, making their own worlds on their own terms. Many times. I want to shake them sometimes. Tell them that life doesn’t work on their terms. But now, I feel the universe shaking me, telling me that the same applies to me. It can hit pause and we all have to, if it so desires.
There’s a remote control somewhere. To switch on the a/c. I can’t find it. It irritates me that it has been misplaced.