Some of my earliest middle school memories date back to a certain gifted and talented program at a particular unnamed university, where ironically, some of the least ambitious and athletically reprehensible individuals paid full tuition. I, however, one not one of those full time students. Instead, I was a twelve year old with a passion for Motown and a desire to master the art of black and white photography. Together with Chloe– a girl whose named I memorized off of the photography class roster, and proceeded to stalk until she agreed to eat French fries with me– I attempted to conquer an art form thousands of years in the making. I wanted to be the next Annie Leibovitz, minus the nude celebrity photos and bankruptcy scandal.
One of the very first assignments I had to complete posed quite a challenge. The jist of it: Chronicle the daily happenings of a person, place, or thing. Of course, as a budding writer taught to always write what I know, I determined to apply the same principle to my camera. Hence, I chose to follow, or perhaps stalk, a certain individual I “knew” quite well around campus. He was quite a seedy fellow– consumed by his curls and his love of science. I remember thinking that aesthetically speaking, he was an interesting visual. He also just happened to be my first victim, in the I-don’t-touch-boys-so-I-stalk-them-in-middle-school sense. Eventually, Curls, as he became known to those in my inner circle, realized that he was the subject of some hormonally driven exhibition, and needless to say “Build Me Up Buttercup” became our summer anthem.
However, not every camper was possessed by quite the same psychosis. Some actually chronicled a day in the life of an object. One girl selected a bicycle, and chartered its plight through the lanes of yellow taxi cabs and shady white vans claiming to sell lighting fixtures (when really we all knew they were a front for the Russian mob). I was reminded of this budding photographer when I happened upon an inspiring video, which I will summarize as such: 60,000 pictures shown in consecutive order, telling a story involving a bike.