Photographing smells

I stepped onto the sidewalk just after a downpour. The air smelled fresh and green and thick and gooey. It smelled like snails.

I associate the smell of heavy rain with snails from the day in elementary school that it poured and I stood by a stone wall next to the playground with other kids, filling our upside-down umbrellas with snails. There were hundreds of them. And they stunk.

But that's what nine-years-old is ABOUT. I couldn't keep one hermit crab or goldfish alive much less one hundred snails. I slimed my umbrella into disuse.

The smell of today's downpour hit me as I stepped outside and my immediate reaction was to reach for my camera. TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THE SMELL.

As I began to unzip my backpack, I remembered that smells don't photograph well. That I really wasn't going to be able to post this, or any, smell on a blog. And part of me thought well, why not?

You can send a song to someone six hours away. You can video chat with someone 25,000 feet above earth. Jocardo held a book over his computer's camera last week so I wouldn't see his underwear when he stood up. You really shouldn't have to worry about seeing someone's underwear in New York when you are in Europe and yet, YOU DO.

There are grounds for my instinct to photograph the air. But I'll try to keep it in check until someone comes up with some new smell-related software.


Anonymous said...

wow. I remember those days at Sands, right across from The Jungle (or the Forest or whatever that playground was called that we got to play on TWICE) picking snails from that brick wall. Those were the days!!! If I were Jocardo, I'm sure that little underwear story was meant to be private and I'm sure that he would say that at least he was being considerate AND they were clean!
Ed Sandlewood

Anonymous said...

And a thought about that playground...I would like to shake the hand of whomever decided to build a playground where kids swung and climbed high above the ground and then fill the bottom of where the kids may (or may not) fall with THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF WHITE, POLISHED ROCKS? Brilliant! Nothing like a fall from above and landing not on the hard ground but soft and cushy ROCKS!


ronckytonk said...

the forest playground scared me. not that I ever remember really being allowed to play on it either.

and I'm sure Jocardo wouldn't mind me talking about his maybe-clean underwear (I wouldn't know) on the internet. he's not shy at all.