Beauty in the Damage
As part of the Film26 project, I recently shared this Polaroid. This photograph was shot on the Impossible Project’s Poor Pod film, and given the nature of Poor Pod, I knew there would be a strong likelihood that the image would come out a little wonky. A little less-than-perfect. A little damaged. I suspected there would be parts of the image that wouldn’t develop, that might be stained, and that would show a little spotting. And I was correct.
Although this photo might be considered “damaged,” the more I look at it, the more I love it. I love the way you can still read Impossible on each film pack. I love the depth of field (the blurry background) and the little circles of bokeh in the top left. I love the tone of the image — the blacks, the whites, and the grays. I even love the top right of the photo that didn’t develop. I love the swoop of that undeveloped corner, like a painter took her brush and made a gentle stroke. I love the reddish-brown stain. It doesn’t obliterate the image, but rather gives it character and a kind of depth. I even love the tiny white specks and bubbles that show up randomly across the photo. They remind me of my own freckles strewn across my skin.
And that got me thinking of how this photograph is a metaphor for myself. A metaphor for each of us. Aren’t we all a little wonky? A little less-than-perfect? Don’t we all have parts of ourselves that are yet undeveloped? Don’t we each have our unique stains? Or own kind of spots? And in this so-called “damage,” I can see the beauty. Of this photo. Of me. Of you.
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