‘A story about nostalgia and how the relationships we have change over time’
Written by Raymond Cara
Although Kevin’s intensity alienated him from some casual friends, potential clients and dates, and even family, it was probably the thing Sean liked the most about his best friend of nearly fifteen years. People of true passion were hard to come by these days, but by god Kevin was chalked full of it.
Kevin had acquired a Graflex Super D a few years back and started experimenting with a 19th century style wet plate portrait method of light capture called tintype. The sessions with each subject would often take hours, and would yield only one single photo. Something about his uncompromising purist style and ‘end of the world’ approach to photography had gained him a reputation amongst arty types in the city. He had refused to advertise or post his work online, and often encouraged his clients to abstain from the latter as well, although they made their way onto various websites and blogs all the same.
Kevin often bragged to Sean that people who showed up to be photographed were impressed by his collection of old film cameras, and the makeshift darkroom attached to the living space of his basement apartment in the north end. It had been years since Sean was there, but he remembered that when photos were being developed in the small bachelor, it made the entire musty room take on a hue of fleshy blood red.
A Nikon F100 that Sean received for Christmas back in high school was a prize shared between the two boys at the time, and they cherished it like it was a great work of art. The craftsmanship of the chassis. The lens itself, an all-seeing eye of opportunity. For two years, urban photography became their favorite pastime. They catalogued the forgotten, the decaying, and the beautiful. They created a spectacle out of what had once been, and captured tangible memories. It was poetry burned onto film. When it came time to develop, the process was done ritualistically, and in silence. This tradition Kevin would carry into his professional career, although he hated calling it that.
These days, the work was more arcane. The clientele were downtown hipsters who had heard about Kevin through a friend of a friend. In his small apartment, shelves of various kinds of developers and fixers, usually in some kind of unorganized mess, sit dangerously close to the only eating space. The humble abode on any given day was subject to the neglect of domestic chores, and it had no TV or computer.
And yet still, people came. And they paid. Sean was never quite sure what kind of money Kevin made from his works, and was uncomfortable asking even after all the years of friendship. He knew that it was enough to eke out a low key lifestyle committed to creation alone, though. If and when you did get into a session he was, apparently, able to engage the sitter in a uniquely intimate way. Although few words were spoken during his sessions, they were