This was the last Polaroid I took in LA. We were at Bolsa Chica State Beach, which is dotted with lifeguard stands–a quintessential Californian scene I wanted to capture. Except when I pressed the shutter button, my last two exposures came out together, this one stacked on top of the other, blank.
It’s a disappointment, of course. I really wanted that shot, and I had saved my last two Polaroids specifically for the beach. And Polaroids aren’t cheap!
But look at that wave where the developer failed. Look at the spindly legs of the lifeguard stand, like those of a moon lander. Look at the white sheen over the sand, making the whole scene otherworldly. Maybe this mistake can be a piece of art.
I used to think I might be a photographer. I took yearbook class expressly so I could use our high school darkroom. I took photography in college for the same reason (though I failed the class because I didn’t mat my final presentation) (and other depression reasons besides). I was on the verge of taking it seriously, as I have been so many hobbies before and afterward.
Today, I’m happier with snapshots. My iPhone 8 Plus is enough for me. Photography doesn’t need to be a thing I do; it’s enough to be a thing I do for fun. If I’m honest, I’ve been struggling on Instagram for this exact reason: my photos aren’t that good.
But I’m looking at the platform in a different way now. Stories is where I spend most of my time. Making a Story is like making a zine. It’s about the combination of words and pictures. It’s about layout. It’s about guiding your audience through a sequence of pages. I know how to do that!
And once I decided last year to jump both feet into embracing social media, Reels have been a delight. (To make; I still can’t get IG to show me what I want to watch.) Ever since my first digital camera (2006? I think??), I’ve shot half as many 10 second videos as I have photos. I imagined once they might be vlogs, but they’re perfectly suited to Reels. Just enough sound and movement to be interesting, with a caption on top–this, too, is a zine.
(I’m this close to starting vlogging for real for real this time. Do you watch vloggers in their 30s and older? I’d love some new recommendations, as most of what YouTube pushes me are 20somethings.)
What have you been thinking about forever, but never actually done? What idea are you still holding close? Is 2022 the year to bring that idea into being?