In this one I think I’m trying to Cortazar (look him up if you must)
I recalled long solitary walks along the Maple lined streets of my birth, camera, twice my age, dangling from my neck. The times between afternoon and evening were best. The sun at a low angle cutting through a wide swath of LA’s thick smog and haze produced slightly off hues, like early color film. Spiraling plumes of gray smoke rose from back-yard barbeques, a sweet tinge of kerosene on the still air. Timers flicked on Sprinklers up and down the streets within minutes of each other creating artificial dew on endless gardens of exotic vegetation. Cars aplenty lined the streets. Everything from old rusting Bugs and Pintos to Cadillac’s and Maserati’s, but ever-changing, like the people. Often, a half block stripped of cars was occupied by a massive drab gray moving van.
One summer Sunday I snapped two rolls of B&W as a house was emptied of its soul. Human sized red lettering arced across the side of the van, ‘Starving Students’. Men, that didn’t look like students, were dressed in gray that made them disappear when they moved in line with the truck, carried a steady stream of entrails. A lamp made from a black leather woman’s boot; a poster of James Dean playing pool; a brown box of an RCA television with a frayed black cord trailing behind like a tail;
a grandfather clock that began tolling as the movers trudged up the ramp; and identical rectangular box after box that giant children might use to build toy castles.
A small boy with wide eyes and long face wheeled a brilliantly red stingray bicycle toward the mover’s ramp. I focused on the bike’s silvery fluted horn and clicked the shutter. The boy looked at me, then, blinking rapidly he rushed up the ramp.
That night I developed the film and printed out an 8×10 glossy of the boy and the bike. Reflected in the surface of the bicycle’s horn, was a diminishing series of images, like you see when two mirrors face each other. Intrigued by the symmetry, I blew up the image of the horn. As the picture resolved into view in the tub of developer solution, I saw the same boy in each reflection, but alternately holding a red bike or a camera.