Smoke is one of my favorite movies. I love the interwoven stories, the raw immediacy of the characters, and the setting. The thing that really keeps me coming back over and over, though, is Augie Wren and his series of daily photographs that he takes of his cigar store corner. The same photograph of the same corner at the same time, every day. And never the same thing twice. I love that.
Last week, my Atlas Obscura weekly email included this pointer to a father and son who have taken the same photograph together for 27 years. It’s fascinating to see the changes in them as the son gets taller and the father’s face gets older and rounder. And then the last photo rolls up and well, I got something in my eye. That’s an amazing record.
The year after I graduated from college, I resolved to look out my window every morning and write a brief description of what I saw. It was interesting for a while, but the habit didn’t last longer than two weeks because there are only so many words to use for the same things. Photographs are different. The same thing will never look the same twice, and I’ve often wished that I’d taken photographs of that scene for a year instead of writing it for less than a month.
I want to try this for a year, so I’m on the lookout for a spot to photograph, and a time of day. Out of my windows is easy, but I’d like someplace that’s likely to have more human action at any given time. A record of the plum tree across the street throughout a year is nice, but not exactly what I’m hoping for. When I settle on a place, I’ll be posting them daily on Instagram, thinking of Augie Wren every time.
(If you’re interested in finding out more about Blaugust, or you’d like to join in, read all about it over on The Aggronaut.)