The Band Broke Up / #tbt 2020
I enjoy my clients. Well, most of them. Some way more than others; some not so much. You know what I mean, but the real point is that I spend a lot of time with my clients (at least I used to before COVID) supporting them, making sure their work goes smoothly and a little bit better because I helped them…
Before the pandemic, I was onsite, in-person, face-to-face, supporting and consulting 3-4 days per week with my clients in their offices. As I got to know my clients well, I would ask to take pictures of them — not cookie-cutter, run-of-the-millennial (or Gen Z) style selfies using a mobile phone — I’m talking about nice portraits with a real camera! And, as you may have guessed from previous posts, my preferred format was/is instant photography using vintage and new cameras.
The best thing about instant photos is, well, the whole reason they exist — you can see the results develop before your eyes. It’s why Dr. Edwin Land created Polaroid instant photography after his daughter asked him, “Why can’t I see the picture right away?” Today, depending on the instant film’s brand and chemistry, “right away” may mean between 1-30 minutes, but it’s waaaaaay better than sending film off to be developed and biting your fingernails until it comes back! And taking instant photographs of my clients meant I could show them the results after a few minutes and send them a scan of the photo later for their Instagram…
Anyway, where I’m going with this is that I looked through some Polaroid photos today for “throwback Thursday” and came across the last batch of shots I took of clients just before the pandemic. It struck me that today, many of the people are no longer at the same employer they were when I took their photos. In fact, some of them had changed jobs more than once over the past 2-3 years since then! And if you add in the “great resignation” of the pandemic, it’s like a freakin’ shell game out there! Seems like the band got together, recorded some hits, played some gigs, but then broke up and will not be getting back together again (just like Humpty-Dumpty).
In one of the stacks of Polaroids, I discovered a group photo of four client-friends, two of whom are still at the same employer, one long-gone (2020) and one who left in the past 60-90 days. Seeing that one photo really made me miss the old, pre-pandemic, in-person, face-to-face time with them. It also made me realize something else: this Polaroid photo not only captured a moment (the way all photos do), it captured a group of people in a unique, specific and special place and time, all three of which (group, place, time) will certainly never exist again. Sure, they may follow each other on Instagram and TikTok and as they move on and around, may end up working together in similar groupings. But that particular gang of four will never be in that same gathering, in that place, in that time, ever again.
I realize my Fab 4 group in this photo (though unique and special to me) are not unlike all the gatherings and groups of colleagues and friends and family — whether recorded in photos or videos or not — around the world. But I thought I’d share this particular Polaroid with you, along with my musings about the significance of photographs and moments captured in time…
Camera: Polaroid SPECTRA SE PRO (vintage)
Film: Polaroid Originals SPECTRA color instant film (discontinued in 2020)
Photographer: Russ Murray (vintage)
NOTE: I’ll be posting in the next few weeks on my Cameras+Films blog about the history and death of SPECTRA in excruciating detail, with lots more of my instant photos in that format.
See you tomorrow!