In June 2016, I flew on my own to France. The week of Brexit. How much I’ve changed since then is crazy, but the time portal of a roll of undeveloped film has sat on my bookshelf ever since.
In the strange limbo on the other side of the Garonne to the city of Bordeaux, lies a collection of warehouses. A skatepark sits nestled in one. In another a bar, and a hip hop gig that I missed. I was still prejudiced about music then. I suppose I still am to a certain extent. But tucked away, where the music would have echoed through the exposed corridors, sat another warehouse. Abandoned.
At first, I explored with my cousins, skipping over smashed glass. I didn’t have a camera with me, and felt that feeling of small regret at the pit of my stomach. Merde. The space, cracked open by trees and sky, reminded me of an i-D article that I’d seen months before. An abandoned swimming pool in Berlin. For some reason that place flickered through my head for weeks, and, stepping into this warehouse was like I had really just closed my eyes. It was my mind back then. That place, and my headspace, I could barely distinguish. The quiet chaos of it all.
The next day I cycled back, wind in my hair. Free. I didn’t live enough on that trip to Bordeaux. I was scared to laugh, scared to take photos, scared to speak french or dance in the street. Cycling back down to that warehouse is the one thing I remember. Really remember. So I stood. Under the ceiling of an open sky. Two cameras around my neck, and my heart in my mouth. I have never been so thankful as I am now, that my DSLR ran out of battery. Armed with one roll of film. I have always been far too cautious to take photos on 35mm. The permanence and volatility of the medium used to scare me. Most things did. But maybe that was ironically fitting. I can still hear the birds, and the sound of my own footsteps. Film reeling forwards. Shutter. I wasn’t happy, when I went to France in June. But I think that in the split seconds of these photos being taken, I almost was.
I found the roll of film last weekend. A trip to Kodak later, and the photos were developed. I won’t lie and say they’re great, and that my scanner isn’t scratched enough to take away from their pristine quality. But I think they mean something. My own development mirrored in that of film. J’espere.