Nav­i­gat­ing the (Lint-y) Fab­ric of the SpaceTime Con­tin­uum: Pho­to­graphs of Deb­bie Harry, 1975–77

The Iowa Review - - CONTENTS - Lisa Jane Per­sky

LJP (al­ways): “Hey, I’ll take pic­tures of you guys.”

I feel clunky nav­i­gat­ing the world. I see my­self as not only phys­i­cally awk­ward but clumsy in so­cial sit­u­a­tions. To smooth my road, I’ve picked up a cam­era and used it. That el­e­gant piece of equip­ment—in this case a Nikon F1—held to my eye forms a bond be­tween me and you, unites us in a fur­ther-agreed-upon mys­tery.

This is a se­lec­tion of pic­tures I took of Deb­bie Harry while she and I were oc­cu­py­ing space in prox­im­ity to one another from 1975 through 1977. That the neg­a­tives sur­vived my many lives and lo­ca­tions since is a bit of magic. They show the wear of time, but their sub­ject re­mains fresh, un-self-con­scious, and I hope, unim­peded by my pres­ence.

Deborah Harry: “Be­ing hot never hurts.”

It’s hard to com­plain about look­ing into a whole­some, beau­ti­ful face, es­pe­cially one that also con­jures “Kung Fu Girls” and “paka lola luau love.”

Some mem­o­ries I had and dis­cov­er­ies made while mi­cro­scop­i­cally clear­ing the neg­a­tives of their ac­cu­mu­la­tion of dust and scars are th­ese:

Peo­ple were al­ways giv­ing us clothes, and the clothes of­ten came from the trash. We took for granted the erad­i­ca­tion of bed­bugs, had the im­pres­sion we were get­ting a grip on dis­ease, never thought twice about drag­ging fur­ni­ture or fash­ion in off the street. When we dressed up we weren’t just wear­ing clothes; it was “drag.” Items from the 1930s and ’40s were par­tic­u­larly coveted. We cel­e­brated trash, hand-me-downs, and thrifted haute cou­ture from any re­cently de­ceased doyenne. Fab­ric was man­u­fac­tured in a dif­fer­ent way dur­ing that span of decades. It was thicker and there­fore stiffer, but it also didn’t pill as much. Lint was more of a thing. Or maybe that was just be­cause of how we lived and laun­dered. Not sure.

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