Monday, August 2, 2010


The helter-skelter look on his face communicated what was in his head, “Oh-no”, and looking through a canvas bag it was obvious that what was being sought was truly missing. Maybe he left it out of the bag when he ran through the office door, or it had fallen out – either case meant only one thing, bad news.

Obviously it had to be found, and he knew the countdown had started - there was only 5 minutes left on the clock. The pressure was on and the continued look of concern spelled fear that maybe his life or at least his career would end soon.

He glanced over the immediate area and took in a titillating aroma of leather, there was a tinge of suntan lotion and it brought back memories of a better time. Pausing, he inhaled a deep gulp of oxygen and the sweet aroma that accompanied it. Then as abruptly as he consumed the aroma he exhaled.

Obviously he had no time to dwell on the good parts of life; he had to continue the search. As he tried to focus back on the task at-hand it was obvious that he had noticed the steam rising from the surfaces around him and the epidural layer of his skin glimmered in the heat. He rubbed the sweat from the skin on his arms and neck.

Then frantically he started to move his arms around, shifting items from one side to the other and t was apparent that the words “Hurry, hurry” were racing through his mind. Everyone knows that as you get more frantic and body temperatures rise - mental capacity reduces, or at least the ability to concentrate and find something is effected.

It was reminiscent of a person looking for a lost child. The ability to focus and think becomes cloudy while rushing against time. Once a child is feared missing and before being found a person’s ability to concentrate is practically nil, the young man’s body movement and facial expression depicted him in a similar same state-of-mind. Appearing frantic, yet gazing around the area he started tossing things left-and-right.

“Where could it be?” now seemed to be the expression on his face.

First he tossed a water bottle, then a couple of paper napkins; a paper cup and then some plastic straws. The last thing to be discovered and pulled out was a 2-week old blueberry muffin that should have been breakfast one day, but now was trash. The stench continued to increase in intensity and obviously it wasn’t the muffin generating the immense stench

He continued the search.

Taking another gulp of fresh oxygen he got a whisk of a different odor. Sniffing and sniffing. He summarized that it was not a putrid odor of decay, it was a just a stench of bad. He continued to look around his own person and realized the cause – he was the new odor. His almost sizzling skin was perspiring like an athlete playing soccer, or rugby.

A smile temporarily displayed on his face as he sniffed down toward his armpits and then held his breath. He gazed at his watch, frantically exhaled and threw the remaining trash out of his hands toward the ground, as if to say, “Time is up”, or maybe it was more of a - “I give up.”

At that moment one of the items, maybe it was the water bottle, hit the locking lever on the glove box which resulted in the door immediately flinging open - and out popped a film canister. The look on the photographers face said, “Yes”. He snatched up the container; opened it to ensure camera film was inside, jumped out of the vehicle and raced into the building for what most likely was a photo-shoot, or maybe a deadline for turning in film from a completed photo shoot.

Life would go on.

Several thoughts for this post came from a Twitter conversation I had with a young man in Brasil a few days ago. We discussed his photos, the hot temperatures and I had a chance to view some of his photos. During our tweeting I decided to write about a photographer looking for a canister of film in the heat of an automobile. I often lose things and they usually turn-up somewhere in my vehicle. In today’s post I assigned myself an exercise of exploring several of the human senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing while drawing a verbal picture of an emotional photographer for you, my reader. Did you feel the warmth of the auto? Could you sense the exhilaration of him not finding the film? Could you feel the scared or confused sensations I described? Like I mentioned, emotion and sensing were my goal; let me know if I did my job.


  1. I enjoy knowing the background of this story, how it arose from a twitter converstion is intriguing. I caught the sense of frustration rising out of not finding that one elusive item. The guy must have smelled real bad to be concerned there was possible decay within range of him....

  2. Point well taken, I appreciate the comment. Maybe I let myself get into the imagery of the leather heating, the sizzling steam coming off the surfaces and I was 'smelling' the combination of the two, along with the photographer as just creating a BAD smell. Thanks for the input.

  3. Very perceptive narration.. You managed to create the photographer's emotions very well indeed and of course the 5 senses.. Enjoyed reading the post and also the background to it.

  4. Thank you Sitaraman for your assessment and kind comments. I do appreciate your insight and thoughts.