This week’s interesting new tool is a laminating machine. I’ve been meaning to get one for years and years but for some reason it took me until this week to actually get one. They are really not that expensive. This one cost me forty five bucks plus another fifteen for 8.5×11 inch laminating pouches. It’s worked well the times I’ve used it so far.

I got the machine to make cards. Trading type cards that is. I created a fortune telling system a couple of years ago and when I made a prototype deck of cards I used hand burnished cold laminate to make the cards. That stuff was a bit of a pain. I had to place a piece of the plastic on the front of the card and a piece on the back and then burnish them down one by one being careful not to get air bubbles in the laminate. That took a bit of doing, maybe five minutes a page, and I had about a ten percent failure rate.

The laminating machine is much quicker and easier. Put the piece of paper I printed the cards on into the pouch and run it through the heated up laminating machine. Piece of pie. Takes all of thirty seconds. So far my failure rate has been zero percent and I don’t expect it to climb higher.

I didn’t have an exact project in mind when I bought the laminator this week so I tested it out with an old unfinished project. My “Moment in Time” cards. I came up with that idea last winter or so. I have a lot of Manhattan street photos that I have taken over the years. Some at public events and some right out on the street. I never make anything out of the vast majority of them so I decided to make trading cards out of some of them.

I like trading cards. Maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe it’s populism but trading cards were the artwork of childhood. They were something that every kid had and could hold in their hands and look at. I like their intimacy and their preciousness. Even though they were mass produced and not really precious if you were a kid your copy of the card could be precious to you.

Moments in time is the concept of my trading cards. I made up a template with that phrase written down the left hand side and the photo goes underneath it. On the back of the photo is a water design with the time and place the photo was taken plus a brief description written by me with a little bit of observation and a little bit of speculation about the stranger in the photo.

The project is about the fleeting instances of life that the camera catches. It’s a pretty obvious concept but somehow the trading card format makes it come alive for me. I’m making them the slightly taller than baseball card/playing card size. It’s a standard size but not the usual one. I also have a round corner punch to finish off the cards. Durable art that you can fit in your pocket. That’s what appeals to me about this project. That and contemplating the nature of time.

Going back through the photos in itself is an exercise in contemplating the nature of time. I’ve only gone back to 2005 when I used to shoot at the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series in Bryant Park before work. These photos are all of strangers and not friends and family but they still get me wondering about the nature of time.Who is this person and where are they now?”, is the general question that comes to mind. I haven’t even gone back to some of my old 35mm street shots yet. That’s back in time for you.

All of the photos I’ve made into cards so far (twenty four of them) have been summer shots. Everyone is in the sunshine and they all look warm and happy. At least that’s what I read into them. I tend to guess at my subjects states of mind. That’s another reason I’ve liked these moment in time cards. I get to make up stories. Always a fun thing to do.