Camera Men

I sit in a Liverpool coffee shop;

Talking Heads are playing,

A glass is used as a sugar bowl,

Two men talk about cameras

And I think about all the times we talked about cameras

(or maybe you talked and I listened)

Their spiel is familiar:

Voigtlander (used for taking snaps),

Portra,

The Real Camera shop, Manchester,

Contax,

Medium format,

Pentax…

You gave me your Contax when I left;

And at the time I decided you weren’t getting it back,

Put it in a pocket of one of my panniers,

Photographed my cousin’s new baby on the way home,

It went with me to New York and I didn’t take a single photo (but thought about Garry Winogrand whilst walking downtown).

I found a strip of photos of us, taken in an old-style camera booth, black and white.

You’re holding your film camera,

We’d been to the Manchester camera shop,

Looked through an M6 and been impressed by the clarity of the lens.

Sunny day, too many coffees.

We’re kissing in one of the photos,

I couldn’t throw the strip away,

“Film works on an atomic level”,

Once taken,

the picture remains.