Friday, April 28, 2006

Familiar Scents

In the darkness of my bedroom, I found the following images on my laptop last night. They were the first two pictures I captured while shooting Cheremoya’s children. They must have meant something to me because I placed them in a different file. Most probably to remind me. Remind me to not forget.

When I walked into Cheremoya’s cramped East Los Angeles apartment a few months ago, the simplicity of her lifestyle stung my heart. As if a bee was trapped in my chest and decided to position his pointed bottom on a ventricle.

On her walls were pictures—buttressed by thumbtacks or scotch tape— of her children from school or sporting events. While she tied her son’s shoelaces in the kitchen, I was in the living room looking at the pictures. The line of demarcation between the rooms was where the cracked linoleum floor met the brown carpet. I’m so happy you’re doing this for me, she told me with a grunt as she stood from tying Bobo’s shoes.

No, I wanted to say, thank you. Thank you for sharing your children with me because they embody a familiar scent of my childhood. A childhood I should never forget because I’ve come so far. Instead, I said it was my pleasure.

A couple weeks later, I bought a series of frames and placed photos of her children behind the glass. Pictures of her children laughing. Running around the playground. Striking poses. Her walls are now stripped of the thumbtacks and in their place are black wood frames bearing her babies captured on a sunny day.

The pictures posted here remind me not to forget the familiar scent of my childhood.


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