Always Chasing Rainbows

Always Chasing Rainbows

Years ago, a sighting of even just one rainbow flag or sticker around and about the neighborhood would hearten me, as they'd typically been quite rare.

These days, however, I find my spirit and sense of support bolstered by the number of HRC and rainbow stickers on vehicles on the blocks in my general vicinity. Nonetheless, prominent and/or year-round displays are still fairly uncommon. Thus, I try not to take them for granted.

During 2019's Pride season, there were some fantastic displays, most of which were fleeting. On my block, for example, there was a pair of rainbow flags flying prominently from a condo building. Though that display was fairly short-lived, it was beautiful if one caught sight of it.

And on a prime block of Colley Avenue, Naro Cinema knocked it out of the park with a rainbow flag that flew for a considerable while and a fleeting marquee post that referenced the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

Naro Cinema | June 28, 2019 | Nikon F100 with Portra 400

Naro Video also mounted a truly lovely display, with a rainbow flag posted behind the vivid and iconic neon sign that so colorfully identified that fantastic repository of culture, which has since – I'm sad to say – closed after 30 years in operation. Taken together, though, Naro Cinema and Naro Video's displays were striking at night, and if there was a single motivation for me to photograph neighborhood rainbow flags on film, it was indeed that.

Naro Video | June 30, 2019 | Olympus OM-2N with Portra 400
I had no idea when I photographed this display that there would not be another one like it, as the store's closing had not yet been announced.

So, what you see in this post are images of various rainbow flags around and about the neighborhood, captured on Kodak Portra 400 film – which, at the time I made these photographs, I'd never had any developed and scanned. In addition to that uncertainty, some of these images were captured with an Olympus OM-2N from which I'd never had any film developed. The others were from a Nikon F100 and zoom lens with which I had previously achieved pleasing results. Nonetheless, I had some unexpected results from even what I deemed a tried and true Nikon camera and lens combo, and experienced some issues with the Olympus as well (light leaks, I think, which surprised me, since I'd changed the seals on it; perhaps my efforts were not up to snuff).

Ghent Pride banners on Colley Ave. | June 30, 2019 | Olympus OM-2N with Portra 400 | This was the first year that there'd been a coordinated display of Pride banners in the neighborhood. There were well over 100 of them, and I so enjoyed seeing them.

Given some of those unexpected results using film cameras, I've lately been rephotographing, using digital gear, some of the sights that still remain; we really are fortunate to have some very nice and rather prominent rainbow flag displays around the neighborhood even now, as we move swiftly toward October.

Rainbow gate in Ghent | September 7, 2019 | Nikon F100 with Portra 400 | This is the first time I can remember seeing a more permanent depiction of a rainbow in the neighborhood, and I found it quite captivating when first I laid eyes upon it.
Rainbow flag in Ghent | August 18, 2019 | Nikon F100 with Portra 400 | This lovely flag I didn't see until after the Pride season, but it was certainly a cheering discovery.
Rainbow flag in Ghent | September 1, 2019 | Nikon F100 with Portra 400 | This one I also didn't observe until after Pride season, but it absolutely brightened my day. In fact, those that persist beyond Pride season I find particularly special. The "Hate Has No Home in Norfolk" sign in the foreground magnifies the spirit, though each is on a separate property.
Double rainbow flags in Ghent | September 14, 2019 | It's really difficult to catch a ray of golden hour(ish) sunshine on this one, given all the trees around it.
Rainbow flag sticker at Bearded Beard in the NEON District | August 31, 2019 | Nikon F100 on Portra 400 | This one is outside the Ghent-o-sphere, but I wanted to photograph it because this was the last weekend these folks were in operation, and they are one of the few businesses that came to mind that have consistently had a rainbow motif on display. Besides the sticker adjacent to the door, they sometimes had a small rainbow flag inside, as well.

Note: Across Colley Avenue from the Naro, Ghent Antiques flew a lovely flag during the Pride season, though it was posted only during business hours and I never did get a good shot of it.