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Dash SnowSo I think I’m way late in coming to this party, but I just got shuffled over to Tiny Vices, a website that showcases pictures taken by people. Just people. I recall hearing of the site before, but have never visited.

I got to the site from a link featuring a pic by someone called Dash Snow. Click here to see his pics at Tiny Vices. Dash’s medium is the good ol’ Polaroid. But just to warn you, these are not glamorous pictures. The world of Mr. Snow is a dark, dirty, depressingly gritty, sadly happy one. The pictorial blend of violence, blood, vomit, drug use, skanky sex, and crime is punctuated with hazy beautiful moments. A pic of a guy shooting up, a pic of a woman holding a cat, a pic of thugs kicking in a glass door, a pic of a woman and her daughter wearing bunny ears. It’s both a disquieting and serene set of pictures. Kinetics and action are there, but the still moment snapped in most of the pics evoke an odd, languid emotion.

This guy lives a lifestyle whose existence most of us tend to ignore. Though I do not know him or his life, it seems he is part of a crowd that lives solely for the tactile feel of doing things that are destructive. The kinds of things that at once destroy you and make you feel alive. The fluid-strewn alleyways and harmful powdered bliss of Dash’s universe are dirty, cluttered, mysterious.

This kind of world is as far from my reality as can be. I’m not even enticed by it. My visceral reaction is repugnance, and I so often wish the world were free of drugs and violence and the kind of ugliness unkempt lives create for everyone. But there is an attraction, through the lens of pictures such as these, to the underworld I never see. Human beings have created that layer of life. Why? For any number of humanistic reasons. I do not know what Dash’s reasons are. I can tell that he finds beauty in his world. Take a look at most of the people in his pictures. They are smiling, having fun. Perhaps that’s why these dark, messy pictures are able to express a hazy happiness.

A cursory exploration of the rest of Tiny Vices shows that there is more of this captured otherworld. Take some time when you can to look. The site is very poorly organized and not easy to navigate, but maybe that’s intentional.

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