I take a picture of you. You’re nervous. I am too. I want this photo to come out. To honor this moment, all the moments, all of the time, we have spent together. The moment is captured on thousands of pieces of salt, suspended in gelatin, inside of my Rolleiflex camera. Neither of us can see this moment, even though we are swimming in it. This single second, or 1/125 of a second, is now immortal. But it’s so much more than 1/125 of a second. It’s the food, the eating, the smells, the sounds we’re hearing, the music we’re listening to, the tastes we have in our mouths, our words, our eyes, our encounters, our memories, our hopes, and dreams, and worries… its our connection, immortalized into one frame. I want to honor you. I want to honor our connection, our time, our relationship, together.
I take you and put you into a black room. I pull you out of my camera. I push and pull in total darkness, feeling you as I put you onto a reel. Then I put you into a metal container, where you can be protected from the light, which is too bright for you, right now. You’re delicate. But you need to be handled with the correct chemistry. I pour developer on you and swish you around in it, for ten minutes. I bathe you in acid, and water, and fixer, and hypoclear, and water again, and then I put you into a box. You are finally out in the open again, breathing hot air, as you dry for twenty five minutes.
Now I cut you into pieces of three.
I never know how long I am going to spend with you. With some men it takes minutes. Others, hours. Others, days. And there has been one boy who I have played with in the darkroom for years. His name is Jaaden.