Self-portrait, Friday November 13, 2020

Steve Anwyll
 issue of Northwest Review.

When I was a kid my granny always had a camera close by. A point and shoot Kodak with a cube flash that burned so bright it still hurts my eyes to think about. She took photos like she was possessed. They piled up and I loved to look through her albums. Of them all the one I’ll never forget is my father. Hair permed perched atop a lawn tractor in cut-offs so short they’d make Daisy Duke blush. Somehow that single image from a time I barely remember sums up my childhood better than I can ever hope to. And I’m known for my writing. Over the years I’ve used all sorts of cameras to feel close to my granny after she passed. I started with a point and shoot of my own that I bought before moving to Toronto with my wife. We rented a cheap little apartment at the end of the subway line. She went to school. I rode the train. Camera always close by. These days I use an old Nikon Rebel XTi that has lower megapixels than most phones. I like the control it gives me. And in an age of hyper definition I crave the grainy images it produces. It reminds me of the old black and whites my granny had from before I was born. Now she might not like the photos I shoot these days. Especially my self-portrait. She’d rather I smile. Or shave. Or cut my long hair and get a nice secure job with the government. But I know it’d bring her joy to see how happy taking them makes me. I do it to remind me of her smile.

Steve Anwyll is the author of Welfare (Tyrant Books) and can be found online @onloveasshole.