Updated: Feb 20
fez (noun): a flat-topped conical red hat with a black tassel on top, worn by men in some Muslim countries (formerly the Turkish national headdress).
It isn’t every day you see a fez-wearing senior citizen zipping around in a miniature car. So, to that point, a lot of interesting things happened while I was shooting this roll. Unfortunately, due to my inability to believe what my eyes were seeing, the Shriners escaped without being captured on film. You might ask what are Shriners? (I asked this myself) Apparently, they’re an offshoot of the Freemasons which focuses more on fun and fellowship than their counterparts. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning.
Being a cold and dreary Maryland winter, when we woke up to sun one Saturday morning, the choice was obvious---we needed to get out of the house. Given our proximity to Ellicott City, we headed into Historic Old Town, cruised the shops and did the usual “look but don’t buy” routine. Nonetheless, it was fun to simply get out and stretch the legs. On this journey, I carried the Canon AE-1. This would be my second time using the camera and the first time using it without any painters take on the back (I was told there might be light leaks). This is my version of living dangerously. Would any of the pictures turn out? Would I produce 36 exposures of light leak gold? Only time would tell. I captured a bit of the shopping experience on film: son splashing hand in fountain after I told him not too, the cliché mirror pic, telephone lines…I really don’t know what fascinates me about telephone lines. I could say something profound about how these lines connect people, giving mankind the power to communicate in ways never imagined but I’m not going to do that. As the day ended, I was thankful for the blue skies and sun this Saturday brought…I could only hope Sunday’s weather would be just as good.
I woke up at 8:30 AM on Sunday, ran to the blinds and drew them open. Sunlight poured in. Another day of fantastic weather. Once again, we needed to get out of the house. This day we decided to venture a little further to check out the Pentagon Memorial. While there is it impossible to not reflect on September 11, 2001 and the chaos/uncertainty tied to that day. After a few moments of reflection, we headed over to a monument, memorial rather, for a people who have always been of interest to me: Freemasons. As we drove up the winding hill to the parking lot, it was obvious the George Washington Masonic National Memorial was mid-way through a face-lift. Scaffolding aside, it was interesting to look at from the outside but more importantly, what mysteries would be revealed upon entering the massive, nine story lodge?! Unfortunately, I’ll never know because I wasn’t about to cough up $18 for the tour…only propagating the Masonic shroud of mystery. Before leaving, I breathed in some crispy Masonic air and took in one last view of Alexandria.
This is where things get interesting. Rather than calling it a day, we drive into Old Town Alexandria only to find out there is a parade…a gigantic parade. Marching soldiers, guys in kilts playing bagpipes, fake George Washington mounted on a horse in the back of a pickup. All very interesting, however, nothing compares to the death defying mini-car maneuvers of the Shriners. I’m sure Medicare doesn’t appreciate their antics. How many Shriners are currently laying in a hospital in a full body cast? Why the mini-cars, I don’t know, but they raise a lot of money for children so I’m going to let them be. With the generous fez-wearing elderly mini-car driving gentlemen fresh in my mind, I returned home, did some developing, and pleasantly discovered the light leak claims to be unfounded. No over-exposed images here. Just 36 crispy, perfectly exposed imaged.
Camera: Canon AE-1
Film: Kodak TRI-X 400
When: February 2019
Where: Ellicott City, MD; Pentagon, DC; & Alexandria, VA