Saturday, May 28, 2011

FOUND Photobooth, week 9

I found this strip with some friends in Champlain Place in Moncton, New Brunswick this winter. This is what I see:

Chelsea is the tallest girl in her eighth grade class, this doesn’t bother her much. Chelsea also has the largest shoe size and cup size and for the time being, this does bother her much. She is in the midst of the most awkward adolescent stage when even simple movements feel like she’s coordinating a giant, bulky marionette.

Chelsea still plays with her Barbie dolls but is very aware that this is not cool. She delves into the make-believe world with a new secrecy and caution. She plays with them behind her closed bedroom door, seated on the ground and if startled by a knock, she will in a flash, lance a doll underneath her bed to dispose of the evidence. On a few occasions Lois has come up to let Chelsea know dinner is ready and witnessed a Barbie hurdling past the bed skirt. Lois pretends not to notice.

Lois has been a registered nurse for sixteen years and is genuinely good at her chosen profession. She is an exceptional listener with both patients and friends. As a result Lois is a confidant to many and an excellent gift giver.

Lois has been a smoker for over twenty years and feels a great deal of shame about it, especially considering her chosen profession. She does her best to conceal her guilt-ridden pleasure from her coworkers, friends and daughter. At night, when Lois is sure Chelsea has called it in for the day, she lights up on the back deck. Occasionally Chelsea will get out of bed to confirm she can get a ride to school the next morning and catch her mother with a rigid hand cradling a cigarette, hovering just behind her hip. Chelsea pretends not to notice.

The ladies love shopping together and they make a good team. On this Saturday Lois needed to pick up a gift for a coworker’s baby shower and a few other miscellaneous items. At the end of every successful shopping day the mother-daughter team have a tradition to treat themselves to a cinnamon bun. Feeling extra perky after their treat, they decided to use the photobooth. Lois wanted an updated picture of them for her wallet and Chelsea would use the rest in her photo collage of her favourite things that occupied a full wall in her room.

It never occurred to them to do goofy things in a photobooth, their pictures always reflected their current mood, mostly happy. When the pictures came out of the dispenser Chelsea blew on them until the toner solution was dry and then placed them in her shallow coat pocket. On their way to the mall exit, the photos slipped out and fell to the ground.

Moments later a woman stepped on the photos and a pebble caught between the ridges in the sole of her boot scratched the last frame of the fresh strip. Noticing the photos under her foot she returned them to the photobooth with hope that the owners would retrieve them there.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Merry Month of May

Along with the flowers, arts events seem to be sprouting up everywhere this month. Two weekends ago was the lovely Halifax Crafters Spring Event. I purchased a few nice trinkets for myself and as gifts. Last weekend was Free Comicbook Day hosted by Strange Adventures. Myself and hundreds of other stubborn fans waited in line for two hours to get 20 free comics and other geeky miscellaneous items. And next weekend is the Halifax Circus’s Cabaret, I’ve been training in the gym while the performers are rehearsing and I’m very excited for it.

I’ve also been in good spirits lately because every day of this week I’ve received wonderful things in the mail. Belated birthday gifts are still arriving (hooray!) and lots of photobooth pictures for my ongoing Photobooth Drawing Swap (where I trade drawings/little art for (non-digital) photobooth pictures). I also bought some vintage United Nations Air Mail envelopes on ebay that arrived yesterday. I can’t stop swooning at their beauty. And with my love of the postal system, good design and astrology, I couldn’t resist buying these limited edition Taurus stamps. Amazing!

I’ve recently added a few new pen pals to my roster and I’m looking for a few more regular or one time trades if anyone is up for it!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

FOUND Photobooth, week 8

So, truthfully I’ve been stalling from writing this week’s FOUND Photobooth entry because the photostrip for this week makes my heart ache. I found it in the summer of 2007 on the floor of Kingsway Mall in Edmonton, back when the mall still had a chemical photobooth. This is what I see:

Roy only has Angie on weekends. He clears all other plans and is careful to never schedule anything that might interfere with this precious time. She has her own bedroom at his place, there is a Winnie the Pooh wallpaper border and a crib, but Roy bought a little bed and is ready to assemble it as soon as she’s big enough.

Angie is short for Angela, her middle name is Margaret, the same as her maternal grandmother. She is most often under the care of her mother and grandmother and very seldom fusses. She enjoys watching Sesame Street and eating bananas. She does not care for talk-radio or dark leafy greens. Angie understands that Roy is a nice man but is sometimes confused why he is being so nice to her. At times he makes a funny face at her she can’t help but abrupt with laughter, other times she is overwhelmed by the complexity of the situation and bursts into tears.

Roy brought Angie to mall to pick out a few essential things for her that he can keep at his place. He spotted the photobooth at the base of the escalators and thought a photostrip of the two of them would look great pinned to the refrigerator door. The last time he’d been in one was years ago, with Angie’s mother.

Crammed in the tight dark space, Angie grew anxious and increasingly confused by the bright flashes. Roy held her tightly in frame but Angie misinterpreted his actions and felt a flood of momentary panic. Roy soothed her confused tears away in the three minutes that the photos were processed.

Roy’s optimism for their big day together diminished when he saw the developed pictures. Not only did they not turn out as the happy candid photos he imagined but they reflected back an awkward image of him as a parent. Angie typically posed well for photos, it had not occurred to him that this was her first time in a photobooth.

He tried to relay what had happened in the big funny machine to Angie by showing her the photos. She didn’t however even register that the pictures were of her, being used to seeing a playback of photos on the screens of digital cameras. Roy put her in the stroller and gave her the pictures to hold on to. While he tried to remember their next stop, she let the photos fall to the ground, as they proved to not be very entertaining.

Monday, May 2, 2011

FOUND Photobooth, week 7

I found the photos on the left in the Halifax Shopping Center this winter. The strip was tucked behind the sign mounted on the photobooth. They’re quite water damaged so I imagine they were dropped in a puddle in the parking lot and a kind stranger returned the strip to the booth for the kids to hopefully retrieve it.

The center photo I found in the fall of 2005 in Millbourne Mall in Edmonton, it was attached to the booth with a large wad of pink bubble gum, left by the takers no doubt. This booth is no longer there, which is a shame because it only cost $2.

I found the photo on the right in the hands of an inpatient stranger standing beside a booth in West Edmonton Mall, in the spring of 2006. He had been waiting half an hour for the booth to deliver photos he need for an ID card, to his dismay these ones had just came out instead. He cautioned me not to use the booth, we chatted a little and I convinced him to give me the photostrip. This is what I see:

These kids have hearts of gold and eat so much sugar for breakfast. They are not naughty by nature but over compensate with reckless behaviour whenever they are not under the supervision of an authority figure. They keep tiny secrets and collect little stories of the mischievous things they’ve done to regale their peers with during recess. They wear these accomplishments proudly, as if they are badges stitched to a Boy Scout sash, invisible to adults.

The stories are so itty bitty but can easily enrapture a playground crowd while they devour their sugar coated snacks. One kid undertook a corporeal experiment with her best friend, taking turns touching their tongues to each other’s eyeballs. She remarked on the surprising sandpaper like quality of taste buds. Another kid wondered what his cat’s bum hole felt like and let his tiny index finger sink right, with no noticeable displeasure to the cat. Another kid stole 75 cents every day from a jar of coins on his parents’ dresser to buy candy cigarettes, the kind made from waxy chocolate wrapped with edible paper. He went through a pack a day, sometimes he shared and sometimes he didn’t. A junior high girl overcome with curiosity about what would really happen if she stuck a fork in an electric socket tried it to discover a painful numbing sensation lasting only a few minutes in her hand. This became a very popular pass time amongst her friends for the next few weeks.

Given that these kids have never got into any real trouble their parents do let them wonder in shopping malls with minimal supervision. With allowances starting at $10 a week, plus whatever they can find between the couch cushions, a trip to the photobooth is a pretty good way to kill some time and maybe have some fun.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Writing Right: Three Months In!

Well I can’t believe April is over and I’m one year older. Where has the time gone? Sometimes I feel like I get so caught up in all the tiny things that make life beautiful that I forget about the bigger picture. Apparently I was living inside of a bell jar for the last month because I really can’t fathom that it is May already.

Anyhow, one of the projects that I happily get lost in is my ambidextrous training. Here’s this month’s drawing video. I am definitely improving but still have leaps and bounds to go!

And speaking of beautiful little things, at the end of June I’ll be the contributor at Four For The Day. I mention it now so any readers who haven’t heard of the website can check it out sooner rather than later. The site/project is the creation of Winnipeg artist, S. Arden Hill and put simply, each week a new artist presents four of something for every day of the week for one year. The results are pretty fascinating.