Photos By Unknown Individuals In Possession
Of Camera Now Owned By John Hoff
So I had to replace another camera. It was all Brian Thao Worra's fault. I was trying to take his picture, and he crossed his arms over his chest, self-conscious. I said something like, "Oh, don't do this thing, here," and energetically imitated Bryan's gesture...well, the camera in my hand went flying and...
...it was just a cheap little thing I bought at a pawn shop, and it broke. I called that camera "the gangster cam" because of the identity of its last owner, revealed clearly enough in the pictures left on the memory card, click here for a blog post.
So I had to replace the cheap $29 HP camera with ANOTHER cheap $29 HP camera, though I was willing to go as high as $39. There was only one other requirement, in addition to being CHEAP and being an HP. I also wanted some cool pictures on the memory card. Pictures of GANGSTERS.
Once again, my favorite St. Paul pawn shop had exactly what I wanted. Pictured here are some--certainly not all--photos from the memory card.
The photos appear to tell the story of a party at a sad, run-down apartment complex. I suspect the location is in St. Paul, based simply on where I bought the camera.
Several photos are taken in the parking lot, like the first photo, top. However, throughout the night's events, little children are present. People pose with the children, they take pictures of the children individually and in groups, and then the adults return to drinking, dancing, scoring (what appears to be) drugs out of a passing car, tagging, flashing gang signs, etcetera.
Photo, top: one of the party participants, posing on a vehicle. Second from top, somebody poses with (fresh?) graffiti outside the door of the apartment complex. Look at that expression of pride in the face. That's the look of a proud artisan.
Third from the top, a group of children enter the building where the party apparently took place. Out of numerous photos including the children, this is one of the "least identifiable" which is why I picked it for inclusion. Whatever adults do, it's not the fault of the children.
Next, flashing a gang sign near a vehicle.
In the following photo, upper right corner, the guy with cornrow braids who was next to the vehicle appears to be looking intently at...some substance? In plastic? Or is he just punching some kind of small, hand-held device?
Next, four photos...flashing gang signs, dancing with a booze bottle and money. Closer examination of the photos with the money reveals the currency to total a mere $40, in the form of two $20 bills. Sad signs of the "George Bush Recession." Good heavens, I remember when only $100 dollar bills, or at least a THICK wad of lesser denominations, were worth waving around while dancing to gangster rap.
Smoke drifts languidly through the air like strands of rope...and as the night goes on, the booty shaking only grows more intense.
The very last photo was not taken the day of the party. It is an image from inside the pawn shop where I purchased the camera, perhaps taken by a pawnshop employee to establish this was a working camera.
Well, this "gangster cam" now has a new life. I'm sure it will eventually get broken like all my other cameras, but when it goes down it will go down in the cause of neighborhood revitalization.
The old gangster cam is dead. Long live the new gangster cam.