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A camera from space.

In 2016, I happened upon a vintage Polaroid 250 Land camera at a yard sale.  The dusty camera seemed to be in good shape, so after parting with $10, it came home with me.  It wasn’t until I unclasped the cover and opened the bellows that I realized that I was holding a piece of history in my hands.  On the bottom of the camera body, permanently affixed with solder, was a metal label indicating that the relic I was holding in my hands was the property of the ‘US Govt, National Space and Aeronautical Administration.’  Other engravings on the metal body reinforced the official nature of the camera as a government issued documentation device.  NASA owned and maintained this camera.

My romantic mind reeled back in time to the mid 60s.  I envisioned trim bureau agents in black suits and black framed glasses using this very camera to document the findings of an exploration agency in full operation.  As I held the camera in my hands, the possibility dawned on me that this camera might even have been in space or to the moon, a tool sent extra-terrestrially to document mankind’s furthest frontier.  This camera, no doubt, provided the imagery for the dispatches and debriefings of space exploration.  The sheets of positive film that passed through this camera truly must be remarkable.

Made up memories.

Of course, I’ll never really know the origins of the camera, and that is the beauty and the mystery of analog cameras.  We are given permission to fill in the missing pieces of the story with our own narratives and memories, and because history has been lost, the truth becomes obscured.  The passage of time is an elemental part of photography, whether we are talking 50 years or 1/50th of a second.

The last frame the bygone NASA agents took sat directly next to the first frame I snapped.  They became connected in time, separated by years but right next to each other in sequence, each capturing but 1/50th of a second.  Each of these fractions of time become bookends to the 50 years of undocumented time that passed when the camera sat disused and covered in cobwebs.  Through photography, these little fragments are preserved– little moments that become isolated from the never-ending flow of memories and emotions.  Photographs are essential to preserving our narratives.  Our progress through time is constantly shaping and altering our narrative, and the photographs we make define the way we remember it.

And yet, with progress comes obsolescence.  Even the film stock used by the Polaroid 250 Land camera is passing into obscurity.  I was able to purchase a back stock of Fujifilm FP-100C and I began shooting frames of my everyday life and wanderings.  What follows are memories from the past; some true, some obscured.

“The wall between reality and fantasy, sometimes so small, and not so tall.”

-Raphael Gualazzi

 

Polaroid Land 250 camera
July 4th, 2018. Savannah, GA

 

 

 

Polaroid Land Camera 250 portrait
July 22, 2018, Tybee Island, GA
Polaroid Land Camera 250 portrait
July 22, 2018, Tybee Island, GA
Polaroid Land 250 camera
July 5th, 2018. Tybee Island, GA

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