Journey to the End of the Night, Part Two
A few issues ago, you might remember, we brought you the photographs of Mikael Kennedy, whom we sent to the Eye of Quebec with his fiancée, folk singer Melaena Cadiz. But those pictures were only half the story. Kennedy’s preferred medium is Polaroid, and we commissioned him to take a series for us on the journey. Here, we bring you that series, as well as an interview with the man himself, and an exclusive video Kennedy shot on the trip, set to a song by his now-wife. It’s all so sweet that we can’t quite handle it. By Acton Bell
WHY AND WHEN DID YOU START TAKING PICTURES?
I was very young. No idea why I started—but I only took pictures of horses.
EXPLAIN YOUR PARTICULAR AFFINITY WITH POLAROID.
It began as a purely functional and aesthetic choice. Nothing else looks like a Polaroid. Also, I was travelling so much, I had nowhere to develop photos, so a self-contained photographic process was a huge help. These days, in the age of digital photography, a Polaroid is no longer just a photograph. It is an art object—it existed in the moment the photograph was taken. It's a one-of-a-kind piece of art, a tiny painting. When used to document a life, it becomes a relic of that life.
YOU GET TO GO ON ACTUAL ADVENTURES WITH YOUR WIFE. DO YOU HAVE THE PERFECT JOB?
Yes. Hands down. I used to wash dishes in a hotel on an island on a rock out in the Atlantic—that was my second favourite job.
THE TWO OF YOU ALSO SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN CLOSE QUARTERS, LIVING IN PLACES WHERE ONE IMAGINES THERE ARE LOTS OF MOSQUITOS AND SIMILAR DISCOMFORTS. DO YOU HAVE THE PERFECT WIFE?
I do. She’s a trooper. I just know her limits—being cold is not a good thing in her book.
WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST EXPERIENCE YOU’VE EVER HAD ON THE ROAD?
I once drove straight from Portland, Oregon, to New York City with my friend Mike. We’d been living out of his car for a month, driving around the States, and we decided we wanted to make it home for our friends’ record release show in Manhattan. So we started driving.
IF YOU COULD SHOOT ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Vietnam is high on the list.
FOR THAT MATTER, IF YOU COULD SHOOT ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE?
I’d like to shoot some Polaroids of Lana Del Ray. I'd say Willie Nelson but it's more that I just want to hang out with him.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GOOD BOOK YOU READ?
Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees by Lawrence Weschler. It's 30 years of conversations with the artist Robert Irwin.
WHAT’S ON YOUR iPOD?
Lately it's been Amadou & Mariam’s Welcome to Mali, some Tinariwen, Taraf De Haïdouks, weird stuff, and a Balkan mix that has no song or artist names.