Give the Kid a Fucking Camera

Let’s pretend he’s a kid who has never had a camera.

Mrs. Morals might not like what she sees. But would these be photographs for her.

I do not have answers to these questions. I do not pretend to. I do not know who photographs are FOR.

Perhaps they are not for anyone. Perhaps they are for everyone. I do not have a handle on this AT ALL. Do not write to me and tell me you KNOW because it’d be a little pompous.

The kid usually seems to know. They just KNOW.

“Am I going to die.” They ask.

If I had a fucking dime.

Long silence.

Then, I say yes.

Last time I looked, we were all in that particular boat.

Only Mrs Morals lives forever. Which is I suppose why everything is FOR her. All art. All. All. All. Because she’s decent and rational and she KNOWS everything worth knowing.

While we (the stupid people) do not.

Who IS this woman, anyway.

Photography must be decent.

For decent people. They win.

Or. Do you just go out there and DO IT.

Real Stories Gallery Foundation and I have handed out well over a hundred cameras.

The kids marvel.

This kid has two choices.

He’s either going to go out there and take pictures of life, or he is going to go out there and take pictures that represent death.

I have seen kids film dried up tree roots to symbolize death.

He’s not the uncomfortable one.

We are.

Children need to be protected. I know. I know. Blahblahblah.

Go out there and photograph whatever the fuck you want.

No one takes their little hand.

These kids have done sex work. They steal shit. They are in and out of jail.

“Do you want me to show you how I shoot up.”

Not really.

They have TB. They have HIV. They have a long “permanent record.” They have pimps. They have cops who hate them.

They have never had any kind of success at anything.

So, I’m exaggerating, right.

Actually, I’m leaving out 99% of it.

“What kind of photographs do you want.”

Now, there it is.

They know this: Any good whore gives them what they want. Who is they.

We are they.

What the fuck is he going to do with a camera.

I will tell you.

He will probe. That is what a camera does.

His own private sphere. Where the private photograph could be something as simple as a playground because he is not allowed on any of them.

He gets chased off.

He might (actually he will) film the chase. A blur.

He will rip apart the permeable boundaries between convention, the private spheres of what he sees, and the public, and not necessarily with his vision. Some photographs are pulled from your gut. The public and the private sphere are sometimes the same thing. Mrs Morals wants it all to be black and white because she’s a lazy cunt on the school board.

Black and white photographs are mainly grey. Your dreams will still come true in one.

In one afternoon he will nail everything there is to say about both life and death.

At the end of the day, he will still have the camera, and he will want to know if he can use it tomorrow. There will probably be one.

“It’s YOUR camera,” I tell them.

They do not believe a word of it.

I have seen them sleep with cameras.

Depending on how busy I am, tomorrow, we might go out together.

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