Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another World

August in Schenectady N.Y. always carries a sense of foreboding, this subtle sense of doom. It is the end of the summer, and carries with it all that that implies: 9th grade may be starting up soon, and I'm just not looking forward to wrestling with the academic and social stuff I'm about to get thrown into. Again, preparing to leave town to go away to college, leaving the local security of being in the same school from Kindergarten thru 12th grade to enter this new semi- adulthood. And then I'm sitting in my bedroom of my parents house, done with all education, planning to move out of Schenectady with my girlfriend and my enlarger in her station wagon...not really knowing what the point of this move really is. Its August. It's the end of the chapter, and it has happened so many times.

This time I'm here with my my wife and two kids. My son likes to take photographs and I show him where I held my first real job, running a one hour photo machine. Like all of these Re photographic Surveys done by photographers like Mark Klett, Byron Wolfe, etc, these visits always carry a chunk of history. The power of how things change and how things stay the same never really goes away.

On the left of the above photograph is Another World Bookstore, a landmark pornography store and theatre that has been in that location since 1938. On the right is 151 Erie Blvd, now the home of The Gun Store. I worked in 151 Erie at two points in my life: first when I was 16 and it was a one hour photo lab and then again when I was 22 and it was an art supply store. On days that I rode my bike to work, I would lock it in a small alley wedged between the porn store and my store. At age 16 I loved the symbolism of all of this and none of it was lost on me...it would easily be the opening scene in the movie about my life that ran in my head. Processing snapshots and having a view into the most personal moments of people's lives...they were all there right at my fingertips. That to me was it...that was "another world", and it all came out of the processing machine. By the time I was 22 I really just felt like a loser: same job, same hobby, same bedroom, working next to Another World.


Charles said...

Pure poetry! Thanks :-)

Dave said...

Great Post! Reminds me of my small town youth.

Amazing that those same businesses are still open.

Anonymous said...

"Amazing that those same businesses are still open."

Guns and porn; what do would you expect!