A Random Anecdote

I take the 6 train home every night from the 28th street station.

Rolleiflex 3.5 in hand along with some Portra 400 (pushed to 800).


Union Square is the main transfer station. All of the lines come together. It’s hot and muggy. Usually heat rises. But the reverse is the case in the subway, the lower you go, the sweatier it gets.
Out of the corner of my eye were red sequins. A man in a wheelchair had a plaid suit on, bright red pants, a red sequin bow-tie and matching sequin shoes. Friends… I’d struck gold.

But he was moving quick and my Rolleiflex doesn’t focus fast. It took me a moment even to walk as fast as he was pushing the wheels on his wheelchair.

I noticed he was taking the elevator down to the NQR Uptown line. So I went down the stairs and waited upon his arrival.


And off he went, down the length of the platform. I followed behind, all the while visualizing a nice portrait shot of him and his getup, with a speeding train behind.

But my ideas never came true. He kept moving, even after the train came to a fullstop. He boarded and parked in front of the doorway, facing out the door window. Not much room for me to squeeze in between the bars…

He’s too close and within my minimum focusing distance. I can’t backup anymore. Oh well… we’ve now ridden to Times Square and he’s about to get off. I’ll pull the trigger.


What next? Why not incorporate the elevator again? It’s the only time when he’s still enough to shoot.

Well, I found the elevator and raced up the stairs, well ahead of him. I thought of standing right in front of the doors and shooting him as a surprise. But I didn’t like the idea. I didn’t want the confrontation.

I noticed a path leading from the elevator to the main tunnel. So I knew where he’d be passing. I got low and waited.


And off he went. I trailed a little behind to see if he’d slow down enough for another shot. He never did, but I felt satisfied. I got on another train and went home.

My dad would always preface some story with, ‘We were settin therr and…’ (commence the story).

So I was settin there, watching youtube videos as is my wont and came across a Polaroid video. The wheels in the brain started turning and I remembered there was a camera, setting there, on my shelf that came with a Polaroid pack film holder.

Digging through camera stuff, I found the pack holder and LO! she had film in her. Thus is my first Polaroid shot, taken on the balcony:

Because I didn’t know when it would’ve expired and because I didn’t know what was going on, I exposed the ever-loving-crud out of it. But it’s kinda fun.

Some details:

The Camera – Hasselblad 903 SWC. So the photos are 6×6 and it won’t cover the entire frame. Hence the black area but the one lone square on the upper left corner of the frame.

So I wandered around China Town and shot a bunch of Polaroids. Some of these are cropped to the size of the 6×6 frame, and others are just allowing in the outer un-exposed positive.





untitled-425 untitled-428

A couple of notes: the second to last one is a quarter of a second long exposure. The last one is of a buddy who got a purple banana-hammock-bike for $30 off some schmoe in Brooklyn.

If you get an opportunity to shoot polaroids, do it. Much more fun and better than instagram.

I drone 0n and on about medium format this and that… but 35mm really is easier. Easier to shoot, carry, scan, develop… And digital is probably easier than 35mm…