A couple of water-soaked rolls of film shot in disposables, and the memories that resurfaced from them. I lived with these girls for two and a half months, in May, June and July. These rolls were developed in September.
When only a few of 24 frames come out right … is the roll itself devalued? or those few shots more precious?
Paige, Corina and I spend most nights in the same bed. Sometimes cuddled up in the dark, whispering and laughing. Sometimes sandwiched in, laptops on legs, SD cards and cords by our feet. Eating cake and mandarins, snapping polaroids of orange fruit skins. Computer light bright in our eyes, hot water bottles on our stomach.
We curl up, legs tangled, heads on shoulders. Some nights, I snuggle deep into Paige’s bed alone, wave goodbye to her and Lucy-Belle as they dissapear out the window, flicking the light off. Before they leave, Paige kisses my forehead.
In the morning, when I wake too early, Paige is lying next to me. We savour the last hour of sleep, like you savour the last drops of something sweet on your tongue.
Three nights in a row, the moon burnt orange. Spinning across the grass and collapsing in heaps, snapping fragments of the sky in film.
I remember standing on a lookout above these waterfalls. I’m with friends – we’re all gathered together, arms around each other, cold and laughing. They leave at some point – I lie down, camera under my shirt to protect it from the light rain, listening to the water rushing past, eyes closed.
Wrapped in bathers, towels and life jackets, we cross highways and a bridge, attempt to climb a fence until a farmer yells at us, and skirt the paddock instead. A river opens up before us, rocks framing the bank and scraggly gum trees scraping the sky. It’s dark brown, calm. Lucy-Belle and I grab each other, holding on for balance as we feel for the next rock, the water covering our toes, then ankles, then calves, then thighs.
I miss a rock and go down, with a scream and a splash. Lucy-Belle loses her balance and follows, and we can’t stop screaming. It’s cold, way, way too cold, but we’re the first ones in, and we swim further out, barely able to move our limbs.
we insist to everyone clustered on the bank, watching. It’s not that cold! Teeth chattering, laughter gasped between white lips.
I lie on my back, floating, watching the sky. It’s thick with clouds, light blue peering through at the edges. We unclip our life jackets and dive under, pushing our hair back.
A stiff, freezing morning. Day three. 30km behind us. The fire nibbles at damp leaves, the sun is weak in the thick mist. It’s 7am, head-torches still on, folding wet tents.
Breakfast is early enough to watch the sunrise every morning. Sometimes, a big golden thing, dripping with warmth that fills the dining room. Sometimes like fairy floss strewn across the sky, and sometimes a crimson pink, and sometimes so soft and quick if you blink you miss it.
I live for these mornings. Waking up to in the arms of a different friend most days. Voices cracking, mumbling and rolling over, begging for a few more minutes, until one of us pushes the covers back. Breakfast is at 7-7:30 – when we miss out we eat apples and mandarins, retreat back to beds and now-cold hot water bottles.
When we’re on time for breakfast, we eat toast outside in the wet grass with warm hands and plates. Dressing gowns and hoodies and unbrushed hair, the sky a thousand colours.
Lavendar. Sand. Turquoise. Dust. Peach. Almond. Tangerine.
It’s not warm
enough to swim
but we go anyway.
the camera lense,
as the sun dies
on the water.
A study in Paige. Days spent lying lazily across this tiny pier that rocked every time we moved, the sun warm on our bare legs. Splashing at the little ducks in a dirty t-shirt, rolling down the sweet-smelling hills, dandelion in our hair. Dangling our feet in the water and spreading out the contents of our bags.
Formal night. We’ve been dancing in the dewy grass with bare feet, spinning around the dining room, slow dancing and whispering about our fears. A thousand moments passed in the blink of an eye, and I pull out my camera right at the end, snapping the last few seconds of girls in white dresses with tired feet and glowing eyes.
Rooms strewn with boxes, long sleeve shirts hanging from bed frames. Corina goes from room to room, laundry basket in her arms, collecting clothing. Last time, last time, last time.
When I think about those few months, away from home and living with strangers I fell in love with, I always think about this photo. We were canoeing down a lake and came across a tiny strip of sand that opened into this collossal coast. Ate lunch in the sand and built a fire with driftwood to dry our clothes. Sprinted down the beach and teased the water until we emerged dripping, sopping, spluttering.
I’ve never seen an ocean so alive. I’ve never been so in love with my home. I’ve never been that fucking happy, shamelessly screaming it out, I’m so happy I’m so happy I’msohappy, t-shirt hanging near my knees, ankle deek in sand and salt and foam and spinning around and gripping the hands of every single person that made up my whole world.
Illustrated by Isobel