I crank open the back door at the 4th Street entrance and creep into FBP into a day for which, it turns out, I am emotionally underprepared. I’m standing in the green room, but black seems a more fitting color to describe the building on this particular Sunday. The fluorescents have been cut, dark curtains hang over the windows and a single glowing boom reflects in the glassy marly floor like the moon on a midnight river.
Jaime kneels, blonde hair and ruffled black dress leeching her soaked face and body. In the frame, silk trills of water weep down her mascara-inked cheeks as she stares blankly ahead. What I see that the camera does not: the plastic pool in which Jaime has knelt to keep the floor from flooding, Viktor Plotnikov– watering can in hand- playing special effects manager, and Shaun Clark working his directional magic behind the lens.
Moments later I find myself in a living oil painting, a canvas of white linen dresses wrapping up a family portrait in the wake of tragedy. The fifth sister missing, four girls and a grandmother’s audible tears stain the page and screen, while an oppressive mother’s mourning fumes in the foreground. Behind her, we do not weep; we wail.
Fifth photo by Alex Lantz, the rest by me.