Open up a friend’s camera roll and prepare to be disoriented. Another person’s chronicle of time, the past displayed as a grid that can shrink and grow at a finger’s whim, will look entirely unlike yours. It will tell another story from what’s on your own phone — increasingly a satellite extension of your mind — though of course, just a version of it: the photogenic bits, the slivers of video from when a friend inhaled helium from a balloon, and then the visual reminders they left for themselves that won’t mean much to someone else without an explanation: silhouettes of sunglasses they preferred when browsing around, a label on a bottle of wine they liked, a lampshade that sparks the germ of an idea for an upcoming story. I often return to this piece published by The New Yorker in 2014, penned by a writer whose camera roll usurped the notebook that had accompanied her for much of her writing career.
In a pitch meeting, the MR team floated the idea of publishing everything on someone’s camera roll for a week as a voyeuristic exercise and delight, and as the resident photographer at MR, I opted to kick off the series. My camera roll week was bisected by a trip to Rome, my first trip to a non-English speaking country in years, though it starts off with a peek into business as usual in New York before I embrace full tourist mode. Without further ado, the camera roll as promised in the slideshow below, explanations via caption included.
Photos by Edith Young.