Instagram, Before That Was Even A Thing

Hello from the 10,000 day of March 2020 from quarantine.  Since this is the first time in a decade where I don’t have to do anything or be anywhere, I’ve given myself a little project.  I am putting together a little thing about my decade of photography in New England and a bit beyond.

While I was looking for stuff for that, I came up these photos I took now almost 20 years ago.  It will never not be weird referring to 2002 as 20 years ago, but there you have it.

The photos from this entry were taken with a camera called a Lomo.  Here it is:


This was a little Russian made wonder with a super wide angle lens and a very quiet shutter.  The shutter sound effect (why is that even there?) on the phone is louder.  Obviously, it was a film camera.  I took that thing EVERYWHERE.  EVERYWHERE.  I wasn’t loading it with $6 a roll Kodak film.  I used $1 a roll film from Costco.  Because it went EVERYWHERE with me.

And where was everywhere?  I was a journalist at the time, reporting on federal and international taxation.  I know, you fell asleep during that sentence.  I got to go to the Washington DC show, the politician show.  Being part of the show was interesting and fun and the politicians were…. interesting.  I put a couple of the “stars” at the time into this entry.  Dick Armey and Dennis Hastert show up here, as well as a fresh faced Jeff Flake.  I encountered A LOT of politicians in those days.  Dick Armey was HILARIOUS.  I took the picture I put up of him here because it was the day his material was premium.  Dennis or Denny as he was known around the show was a high school wrestling coach and he really didn’t change.  The show didn’t take the wrestling coach out of him.  I had a great encounter with Jerrold Nadler, where he pointed at me and said — no one from the press is even here.  What am I???  Chopped liver Jerry????  One time I was at an event and Kevin Hassett said — Paul Krugman always gets his tax wrong and you can quote me on that in Tax Notes.  I wanted to say — Hassett, I just want to get out of here alive with something to write about.  Could you not?  I went to the White House a couple of times.  George W. Bush was goofy AF and I kept thinking he was doing a good imitation of Will Ferrell playing him.  There’s a video of Will Ferrell reprising his role as George W. Bush and saying — it is I, George W. Bush and that is EXACTLY what Bush was like.  I remember standing in front of White House next to Trent Lott and thinking — that man’s hair does not move.

It was weird because you couldn’t say those politicians were modest but it was really funny watching those clashing egos.  There were eye rolls and semi temper tantrums.  I guess it was supposed to big time policy making but it really was funny a lot of time.  I had a reporter’s notebook with me and I would make notes like — throw a chair at him, throw a chair at him.  The disagreements were respectful.  There was always an interesting energy around.

That period in my life was really hard for me though.  Nobody tells you how difficult your 20s are going to be.  I liked the show but it was hard to find people to be around.  Everything was on this one topic and people never stopped talking about politics.  It was exhausting.  I felt weird and out of place and awkward outside of work.  I liked the people at work who were kind of normal but not the people I was around in my social life.  Now that I think about it too, I wanted a community, nature, activities and different conversations than the ones I had at work all day.  I don’t want to constantly talk shop.  But that’s what I got.  Unending shop talk.

I look at these pictures too that I couldn’t have known what was coming and the people I would meet.  It was just the beginning.  Another lie you are told in your 20s.  It all has to happen then.  I’m here to tell you, it does not.  It can happen in other decades and you aren’t too old and it isn’t too late.

I realized when I was looking through these pictures that it’s a little time capsule of my life, the things I thought would matter so much and all the stuff that didn’t end up mattering at all.  But I documented my life the way people did on Instagram before it got extra weird.  I still document my life up there that way.  I’m not up there pretending to eat “clean” cookie dough.  Someone said this coronavirus will might spell the end of those influencers and all I have to say about that is that while I’ve never wished anything dead, there have been obituaries I have read with great pleasure.

These photos have an unrefined quality to the pictures.  They aren’t typical DC pictures. Not the incredibly iconic Washington, just living Washington.  They are also film pictures taken with a rather not high quality camera with discount film, developed at Costco.  Now people call that “the Lomo filter.”  I took a pictures with a Lomo.  I am an OG old picture taker.  Instagram is just a poor imitation!!! JK.  So here are a selection of the photos from the Lomo.  They are mostly from DC but there are pictures from Paris and New York.

The time capsule of my 20s.

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