Discarded Lives

I once found a stack of Polaroids on the 59th Street in New York. They had been discarded and left on a pile of old furniture. At first, it seemed like a good idea to take them and do something like art. I changed my mind after looking at the first few. They weren’t pictures of a lascivious nature. There was no bondage or private parts. They were images of a young couple posing in front of a tree in Central park, or sitting on an ugly sofa in a suburban house. I put them back. There was something voyeuristic and creepy about handling them. Now we’re used to this. We can look at hundreds of photos of people sitting on ugly sofas.

In that vein, I’m adding more creepy images to the pile. I found these today in the binder that has actual printed photos. The image of Noreen and me in a Shriners hat was taken before a costume party. I like to tell people this was taken after I returned from the war. The baby photo, well, I’ll leave that to your imagination. But don’t believe the stories of babies being stolen at Disneyland. And the poodles, I have no idea why I have this.


Typically, people go on vacation and take nice photographs of their family. I forget to do this. I am that odd person taking a photo of the color of a wall, or that wonderful doorknob. Being a designer, type is a favorite subject. Ed Fella has a wonderful book, Edward Fella: Letters on America, of his Polaroids of vernacular typography. I, unfortunately, am not as sophisticated as Ed is. He finds fantastic signs in out of the way neighborhoods, and is like a big game hunter on safari, seeking that wonderful painted type. I am dull. Growing under a constant high level of fear has left me with PTSD and an unwillingness to do anything risky. Hence my enjoyment of Walt Disney World, or Disneyland. I know where the bathrooms are. I know where I can find food. And I know I will have an endless source of great vernacular (can you call it that if artifice is involved?) typography.

In my defense, I did go on real safari with real animals in Africa. And I recently agreed to try a new place for lunch.