Paul Sietsema

I HAD NOT YET TAKEN MY FIRST PICTURE WHEN A STRANGE, low-flying object glided ominously over my family’s suburban house. I was in my front yard trying to figure out which plant or shrub or pet to immortalize when the object, a large, bright yellow, near-perfect triangle, passed silently overhead. I craned my neck to see the bottom of the gargantuan shape forty or so feet above, I tightly gripped the camera, with one finger on the shutter button. Only later did I realize I could have taken a picture of the strange craft and thus proved its existence to all those who doubted my story.

It was my first camera. The plastic-bodied and plastic-lensed 35 mm model had come free as a promotion, with a bucket of fried chicken. I don’t recall what I took pictures of or even if I took any pictures at all, but I do remember that in 1975 the camera was for me an object of fantasy, the artsy equivalent of

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