I stepped off the SEPTA train at Suburban Station in the heart of Philadelphia with a purpose. The crowds, bright colors, and general chaos of the Mummers Parade's yearly return to Broad Street provided a perfect hunting ground for my pinhole camera. The goal was to walk away with enough images to assemble my first photo book. Ten hours in the frigid January air to create a minimum of 30 worthy images from the 252 potential frames in the bag. A straight forward goal but one requiring the intersection of preparation, opportunity, and a little luck to execute. Unfortunately, I knew I was in trouble as soon as I switched out the first roll of film.
The necessity to reduce the weight I would be carrying around all those hours and the need to maximize the potential frames I could shoot meant that I brought my Holga Pinhole camera instead of the 4x5. What I failed to remember was that the little piece of foam applying tension to the wound roll had fallen out of the camera. With nothing providing resistance, the just shot film roll would slightly unwind letting light to infect a majority of frames. The damage varied frame to frame. Four of the first five rolls suffered this fate. I was left with the difficult decision of keeping shooting with no way of knowing the damage being done by the light leaks or going home leaving the remaining film for another day. I choose to go home with the hope I had enough for a least a blog post.
The few frames which survived the light only confirmed my original goal. I know must wait till the arrival of 2016 to try again.