06 Sep Found in Kitsap – an introduction
taking a break from writing about film stuff to talk a little bit about my project “Found in Kitsap.” if you follow along on my twitter account you’ve no doubt seen posts with the #FOUNDinKITSAP tag. click here to see some.
this is a project I’ve been working on for several years. recently I’ve been organizing photos and brainstorming stories for the book. I feel like I’m getting pretty close to actually writing some of the prose…but let me back up a bit.
one beautiful summer day I was enjoying the cool breeze after taking a ferry back from Seattle. as I waited for my parents to pick me up, I noticed a disposable camera sitting on a park bench.
I scanned the area, looking for a potential owner of the camera. there was no one around. my parents’ car was approaching, and what can I say, my curiosity got the best of me. I took the camera.
the camera travelled with me back to Los Angeles. I was fascinated by it. whose camera was it? why did they leave it? were untold horrors hidden in the pictures? it intrigued and frightened me, but above all, it stayed in my consciousness. why was a found camera so interesting? beyond the simple question of “What pictures were on it?” greater questions ran around in my head. what was the story behind the pictures? what was the story of the person taking them? and why had they left the camera on the bench?
I thought about these questions for years. and all the while the camera sat on a shelf, undeveloped and waiting, its mysteries intact.
it might have remained there forever, but then two years ago while home for Christmas something happened. my sister and I were at our local Saint Vincent De Paul thrift store and I was checking for old Super 8 film cameras just like I always did. while I was scouring the store for old filmmaking equipment I noticed a large plastic tub on a bottom shelf filled with old point & shoot cameras. there were SO many of them. I wondered “Who would buy a cheap camera from a thrift store?” for some reason I decided to look through them and as I was digging in the bin I found a camera that had film in it.
then I found another. then another.
soon I was sitting on the floor, unloading the entire bin as I checked each camera to see if it contained a roll of film.
I left “St. Vinny’s” with at least four cameras. I was astounded that people would give away a camera that still had film in it. film with their pictures. their memories. their stories… later on that trip, I found several more cameras at a different thrift store…
fast forward to today and I’ve found over fifty cameras… many of the cameras had no recoverable images. some only had one or two. and a few were fully loaded. all told I’ve acquired around 300 images from these “lost” cameras.
working on the book for “Found in Kitsap” is one of the most challenging projects I’ve undertaken. I feel like there’s a lot of potential to it and not just on the “wow that’s cool” level. there’s some important ideas and conversations about art, memory, and the significance of everyday events that I’m working on understanding and hopefully communicating.
but that’s perhaps a bit advanced for this blog… maybe we’ll get into it further on another.
instead I’ll leave you with a special gift… the first images from “Found in Kitsap” ever shown on the internet.
so how many of you have an old camera sitting in a drawer with film in it?
p.s. next week I’ll talk about Film Fest Twain Harte and have a few more festival announcements!