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Atisha Paulson ‘Sad but pretty’

NYC photographer, Atisha Paulson presents his latest series starring Dana Drori.

“There’s something about the state of melancholy I find refreshing. Maybe it’s a backlash to social media, the tide of perpetual happiness receding just enough to see what lies beneath the surface of the sea. All those teeth, artificially whitened, weakened by bleach, fragile to the touch.

That’s what I was thinking about as I pressed the buzzer on the brownstone in a part of Brooklyn I had heard about, but never been. It was still hot out, traces of Summer lingered on the breeze, the silence of Fall interrupted by a distant radio crooning from a open window high above.

Dana opened the door, blonde lock cascading above a freshly pressed white linen shirt. Her blue quizzical eyes glanced over me quickly, assessing something I wasn’t privy to. The moment passed, she invited me, I followed her up the stairs.

Ice Tea?

I’ll have what you’re having.

She gestured to the couch and I sat.

Please forgive the temperature in here. Our air conditioner broke last week and we we’re expecting a heat spell so we didn’t bother fixing it.

I like the heat. I also made a promise last winter when it was freezing that I wan’t going to be one of those people who complains about the weather when it’s cold and then complains again when it’s hot. It’s one or the other, if you don’t like it, move to San Diego.

She laughed, the ice was broken, the spell was cast.

We spoke about the things New Yorkers speak about: shared interests, favorite restaurants, what we did over the Summer, where we went, who we saw, what we ate. Without consciously realizing it, I had begun photographing her between paragraphs, creating an accidental subtext. Maybe it was the end of something, the turning of the leaves, a final heat wave, who can say. But clearly the subtext was melancholy.

When we finished, I couldn’t recollect where we had begun. I remembered moving around some furniture, following her around the room as she nonchalantly slipped between the shadows and the light.

A few days later, I got the film developed. Looking at the images was like reliving the day, except it had happened to someone else, somewhere else. I like to think it was a young woman on holiday, somewhere in Cuba, when Hemingway was there. Maybe she knew him or perhaps she’d seen him sitting at his favorite bar, The Floridita, drinking a daiquiri, a man swept up by the current of time, smiling for no one, not even himself.”



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