Monday, July 9, 2018

Random Acts of Purpose...and Belgian Ale - Sawyer, MI

It's interesting how a 52 year old piece of molded plastic, paper, and a brilliant concept way ahead of its time brings complete strangers together. And how it helped me find purpose.

My wife and I recently vacationed in Michigan and I had taken my 1966 Polaroid 330 Land Camera along with the intent of bringing home a photo album of nostalgic images. Things we saw and places we visited. It was going to be a milestone anthology of natural vignette's, odd color casts, and lack of dynamic range that even the most discreet Instagram filter abuser would admire. Although I carried it faithfully in my backpack every single day, it never saw light (pun intended).  I didn't take it out once. I'm not sure why.  I had the best intentions.  There it sat, quietly, buried in my backpack, while my digital mirrorless played favorite.
1966 Polaroid 330 Land Camera

It had been extremely hot and humid during our stay, and a cold craft beer on the patio of the Greenbush Annex was irresistibly enticing on our last night. My Belgian Ale was cold and refreshing and probably a little too easy.  After some great conversation with her and enjoying some time together where nobody knew us, we decided to cut out and call it a night.  I picked up my pack and the added weight of the Polaroid camera reminded me I needed to take at least one shot before we left.  After all, it was our last night and I had neglected the little bundle of instant film joy that I had carried every day.  My wife graciously agreed, as she often does, to pose quickly for a street shot with the brewery in the background.  A single, nostalgic image to remind us of the memory, and more so to help me feel like lugging it around all week was worth the effort.

We had just finished taking the shot when a man and woman exited the patio area and struck up conversation about the camera.  They were interested in what it was and how it worked.  I was excited to talk about it and likely gave them more information than they had bargained for.  During our conversation I learned the man was the woman's father and they were enjoying some quality time together.  Our conversation didn't last long, but I was spontaneously inspired to give them something special that no one in this moment could.  Nothing they could get anywhere else on this planet other than right here, right now.  I offered to take their photo with the camera they were so interested in and they enthusiastically accepted.

The Wifey
I instantly felt like carrying the camera all week now had purpose.  The right moment just needed to present itself which made it all worth it.  We framed up the shot and it was done.  We waited the two minute development time and huddled together as I slowly pulled the print away from the negative.  They were elated.  I handed off the print with pride and a big smile.  It made my day and I think theirs as well.  I told them I wanted to share the encounter in this blog and asked to take a cell pic of them holding the print. To give them this gift gave me purpose and made carrying the camera all week well worth the effort.  No regrets.
Happy father and daughter with tangible memory

I know they told me their names, but I'm terrible with names and I think the experience and excitement caused me to let it all pass through my ears.  Maybe it was just the Belgian Ale.  ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment