On Forgotten Pandemic Film

My body defends New York like a younger sibling. It remembers the last few months, and it celebrates with great joy, where we are now. The talk of phases have eased out in my home as we enjoy what we have, and wait for what we don’t.

Early on in the pandemic, I took out my camera to snap digitial photos of River and Oak. I felt that documenting as it stood was imperative for them and me. There’s a folder full, and their ipads are home to carousels of their very own. But still, I managed to forget about the film camera I brought with me to Miami, Florida, our vacation two weeks before the city shut down and life as we knew changed along with it.

In the photos, you can see the contrast. There’s the blue sea the kids swam in, the sand looped around Oak’s ankles, and the adventure of simply taking a photo of myself brushing my teeth during a late evening in a hotel room. Weeks later, when I found my camera again, it was for an adventure. A morning of coffee and scones on forgotten benches in our forgotten city.

There were tears that started to usher their way out, struck with the stamp of time. But most of all, there was a sense of serenity too. The cereal in the morning, the endless long dances around our streets—our home, and the way R and O relied so much on one another, their bodies weaving closer with each frame.

These days, as we emerge from a cocoon of sorts, unaware of what lies ahead, my camera remains tangled with my body. Their simple late afternoons of bouncing a ball in the inflatable pool and short boat rides to re-discover the city, hold still for the film. I am not a photographer, but the freedom and the connection to this changing landscape called life is of comfort these days.

10 thoughts on “On Forgotten Pandemic Film

  • Reply Flor July 21, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    You are a photographer! Beautiful photos.

    • Reply latonya July 21, 2020 at 10:19 pm

      Thank you, Flor!

  • Reply elsie larson July 21, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    These are beautiful. Your children will be so glad you documented this when they’re older. xx

    • Reply latonya July 21, 2020 at 10:20 pm

      Thank you, Elsie! Saved a few for them to look back on and keep for one day when they’re older.


    • Reply Berlinda July 21, 2020 at 11:47 pm

      These photographs are beautiful.

      • Reply latonya July 21, 2020 at 11:48 pm

        Thank you so muc, Berlina.


  • Reply Teresa July 21, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    I keep meaning to thank you for your post this March about your Miami trip (my beloved/former/forever hometown), and it feels somehow magical that I tuned in this evening to see these forgotten (bonus!) images. Thank you for your photos and your words, for reminders of home, for the reminder that we might emerge from the cocoon.

    • Reply latonya July 21, 2020 at 10:42 pm

      Thank you, Teresa so much for reading and for your words. It feels good finding a home for these images and thoughts again and again… after all of these years.

      Sending you love on your own emergence from. your coccoon.


  • Reply Laura July 22, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Wow, these are just so, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Laura July 22, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Also, these make me want to try a film camera. These images have such a special quality to them. Would you share what you use and what kind of film? Thank you 🙂

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