Heat – Al Billings

Al Billings

I grabbed a compact 35 MM film camera and slipped into downtown Austin around one o’clock in the afternoon, in the middle of July. I wanted film, and not digital imagery, because the digital Point-And-Shoot camera will furnish me with an endless stream of crisp images buffed and smoothed by the ingenious processor designed to render all digital photos reasonably successful. They want you to be both happy and slightly insecure, so you’ll buy more cameras “upgraded” with unnecessary megapixels and bewildering menus.

What I wanted to capture was how images felt under the punishing summer sun, and not how they looked. My poor little Olympus Stylus Epic utterly failed to maintain the crisp images, crapping out when the intense overhead light was at its zenith. Edges melt, walls smolder, polished chrome rails glisten, and that tiny 2.8 Olympus lens screams for relief.

I noticed passersby glancing at me, the lunatic crouching above the pixilated red umbrellas on the patio below me, the security guard near the credit union entrance wondering if he needs to call in backup. Heat. Everything and everyone glares under the brutal sun, and we are alive.

June 27, 2011 6:59 pm

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