Snapshot Stories: Immediate Delivery

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind old photographs? Snapshot Stories is a series of short, fictional narratives prompted by that curiosity. This installment features this photograph by Robert Doisneau, taken in 1950.

As the two Parisians stood waiting for proof of their fake honeymoon, Edwin realized he was running out of film. He had precisely one shot left on this roll and then he would have to pack up his bags and fly back to New York, with no memories for himself but more cash than he dreamed of making in just one week. The wooden boards were creaking dangerously in the wind and Edwin thought it best to leave before the flimsy structure collapsed completely. His visit to Paris began with no expectations and it would end with no mess to clean up.

The Photographie Comique was a surprising addition to a flea market sustained by antique furniture, flowers, and useless crafts from the countryside. Edwin found the abandoned stall with a wicker chair and an old desk drawer with a few light bulbs inside. For the next few days, he visited amusement parks and theaters, bribing and pleading in broken French for any spare decorations. The only trick that always worked was taking the owner’s picture with his new Polaroid model and watching him stare in disbelief when the image was ready in sixty seconds.

The sets Edwin managed to get for his temporary studio were random and old fashioned, which turned out to be exactly what the public wanted. Curiosities from the not-so-distant past – primitive airplanes, hot air balloons, old cars – sparked an irresistible feeling of nostalgia. The grainy, sepia tone of the cheap film helped to make the tight rope walkers, jazz musicians, cowboys, and indians a little more believable as the new identities of passerby.