I am a recently graduated senior. The summer before leaving for college can be extremely heavy—the weight of clinging to what you know, the feeling that every moment you share with someone could be the last. This, stretched against the expanse of your new life beginning, ends up being a kind of time warp. August comes and every day you say goodbye to someone new, someone who you thought was forever up until a few months ago. Now you can’t be so sure—not because you’re being negative. You’re just trying to be realistic.
The college I’m going to is on the quarter system, so while my friends left mid-August, I was in my hometown of Denver alone until mid-September. This was another kind of infinity: how long a day can be when you have no one to share it with, especially when you know the next day is going to be the same way; again, stretched against the expanse of everyone else beginning their new lives without you, while you sit, bored, in your childhood bedroom, slowly packing and unpacking your old life to take to your new one.
Toward the end of July, my friend MaryV and I decided to take a short, random road trip to Marfa, Texas. We’d never really experienced the desert, and figured, honestly, that we didn’t really have much else to do. We were only in Texas for about 48 hours. There seems really nothing more infinite than 12 hours in the car through flat, low, hot, nothingness. Another kind of time warp: not recognizing how close you are to the destination because everything looks exactly the same.
When in Marfa, we decided we needed a project. MaryV and I both take photos; MaryV is getting her degree in photography this fall, while I get one in digital design. We figured this was one last hurrah, as she goes to New York and I go to Seattle, almost as far away from each other as physically possible.
Before leaving on the trip, we threw our closets together and played dress up until we found things we wanted to shoot. We didn’t buy anything new. Everything we used we already had—all random items pulled out of the back of closet. Pairs of my mother’s shoes I hated as a child, my grandmother’s silk scarves; the pants I had never thought anything of until seeing them next to blue silk on my floor. The trunk of my parents’ car was full of trash bags of shoes, cardboard boxes of outfits, accessories; the manifestation of a childhood spent playing in costumes. We took photos of each other, of the environment around us, of details; methodically and sporadically, shooting rolls of film one after the other after the other.
We made a lookbook. MaryV left for school before I had finished the layout, something I did on my own in my childhood bedroom, in the stillness of waiting to start something else. It was finished in iMessage from my computer, a thousand screenshots with the caption, “Does this work?” When I look through the book now, what I see is two girls on the verge of two different infinities, diverging nearly completely, but creating something tangible in the meantime. There are a lot of different infinities: the ones you create in your head, the ones that end when you step out of the car and stretch your legs and realize you’ve made it. The ones that you make to immortalize something that almost wasn’t there. —Sonja Briney
MaryV Benoit is a girl from Denver who moved to New York to make her dreams come true.
Sonja Briney is from Denver, Colorado. She likes to make stuff and hopes to do just that for the rest of her life. Her Instagram is @babyrhymes, and you can follow that if you’d really like.