The camera was one of the only things I had left. A little piece of my old life. I couldn't develop the pictures on the 35mm film--I didn't have the time or the resources, much less the knowledge. I remember sending out the film in little envelopes with my name and address at the local Wal-Mart. It would get sent of to a place that didn't exist anymore, where they would create tangible images that I had captured through the eyehole of my little blue Holga 35.
Now, I just carried it around for sanity, snapping images of the gruesome and tragic scenes I passed, stopping occasionally to wind the film and pop in a blank roll. I had a backpack full of new and used film that I carried with us. The small group that I followed when I left my home scoffed at me for clinging to something so useless, but only half-heartedly. They clung to something more dangerous--the hope that someday those rolls of film would be developed. That someday, we would look back on those snapshots and say, "What a terrifying time that was" and be able to move on with our lives. I may have held on to a destroyed past, but they held on to a future that never was.
I usually took pictures of houses; the empty homes were a horrible reminder of the virus that ravaged the streets. Sometimes we would happen upon one of the dead, and I would quickly point-and-shoot before they urged me to keep moving. I had a few rolls of film with the faces of my companions burned into their surfaces. These photos of the living were valuable to me because these people were just as permanent as the lives that were built around the homes and the bodies of those who were once alive--that is to say, not permanent at all.
The backpack seems to increase in it's weight everyday. The film doesn't get any heavier, but the weight of the stories it tells does. These images have become a false hope, a documentation of the horror of the present, and a symbol of a future that does not exist. I fear they will grow so heavy that I won't be able to carry them anymore. That I won't be able to give my companions the blind hope they so desperately need to persevere. How will we carry on when there is no future to go to? Where will we go when there is no light to guide?