Today was my first day back at work after being laid out by the flu that’s going around. A week of feeling the effects of basically everything that can go wrong with the human body and it’s finally over. I tried to not be giddy or over-excited but I’ve never been sick for so long (thank god) and I didn’t realize how much I missed certain things. Hunger, for instance. My coworkers, a busy Manhattan street, the staggering subway, what the back of a halal cart smells like. And looking at pictures.
I included these two photos from three years ago because of their symbolism, attached to this day, attached to love. This is 35mm color film. The first I took on the Pratt campus after my long-distance boyfriend who I was madly in love with went back home. I have still not cried so much over one person. The second was where I smashed a wine bottle he left in my dorm room, behind some dumpsters, after he dumped me over the phone. I’m not complaining (this is by far not the worst thing to happen to me, or anyone).
I liked the composition, the duality of gesture. I remember this being my real kickstart into making “fine art” work– I took a trip to Richmond and took some photographs I will remember for a long time, if not by their visual characteristics than just by the way it felt to create them: empowering, revitalizing. Manifesting myself with each photograph, doing something that’s purely for me. Every time I have fallen in love I feel like I have to make holes in this armor I’ve made for myself, and every time I fall out of it I come back to it stronger.
But I don’t say this because I am single and miserable. I don’t love this holiday, but this year for valentine’s day I was given a card with a constellation on the front. Inside the card, my valentine wrote about the parallels to the star photographs I make, and without having to say much more, I felt seen, understood, and loved. This is a greater gift than any bottle of wine, bouquet of flowers, or even hearty sex romp– and it’s a gift that can be shared every day. I love my craft and I love that there is someone who cares enough about me to get that, to center me back on what matters.
(There are many someones. I love all of you.)
In the spirit of today (yesterday technically), here is a brief descriptor of something I love, love, love:
Driving or walking late at night, while it’s raining or snowing very gently. This has been the only saving grace of working nights, the past 14 months, and it is likely the thing I will miss most. It’s private, in a way. In some parts of the city, I feel safer at night than I do during the day. The joke is nothing is safe but there is a sense of security I find in empty streets, unbothered, in neons left on for no one. For a moment or two, just to put it on film, it’s mine, and I cherish it.

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