Lost & Found

Found Polaroid. December 2, 2016. Mexico City.

I was walking my dog earlier today when I found a polaroid. To be fair, it was not Polaroid brand. But who gives a fuck if the brand is Fujifilm or Kodak. We don’t call the instant pictures instax or kodamatic. We call them polaroids. So if you want to be really thorough, let’s say it was a Fujifilm polaroid.

So this polaroid, it was facing down on the ground. You should know I have a tendency to find discarded photographs. I also have — for reasons I’d fail to explain — this tendency to collect them. I guess I like to imagine the context, to read the sub-story in them. To wonder why were they thrown out. Or were they misplaced, forgotten about and then lost?

Anyway. I picked it up because that’s me, I pick up discarded photographs from the ground and take them home with me. I flipped it to discover it was faded. Not really faded, but overexposed. White permeating through most of the frame. And a couple sitting on some stone fence, holding each other. No, not each other: the girl is holding the guy. And they are probably smiling at the camera. I say probably because—and this is what awed me—the faces are completely blank. You can make out the hair, their bodies, even the outline of the face, but any discernible features are missing. Flooded away by the light.

So why did this speak to me? I started to speculate about relationships and identity. Who were these two lovers? Does it really matter when the photograph is accurate in portraying love?

I’d like to believe so. Their features absent, their names and faces become nothing. They are no longer two individuals. Their identities blurred. Flooded away by the light. And the polaroid becomes the portrait of Love in the abstract.

But then, I remember they are not holding each other. It’s just the girl. The guy is being held.

Are they really in love?