Treasure: Abandoned Moment

Amateur archaeologist Mark Brown presents his latest discoveries.
by Mark BROWN

Scan of a photo booth strip.

Dig site: The Kansas State Fair, an annual event in Hutchinson, Kansas, just North of the Love Meter, about fifteen feet East of a strength-testing game where players punch a mechanical sensor with all they’ve got, trying to beat their buddies’ high scores.

Retail value: Three dollars.

Appeal: Why didn’t this couple wait for their portraits to develop, I wonder. Two and half minutes, the machine’s advertised processing time, is hardly a wait for a record of a day of Tilt-A-Whirl, livestock exhibitions, and funnel cakes under a shady tree with your sweetheart. Did they go at it in the photo booth, only to be whisked away by security? It seems impossible that two people might simply forget why they’re staring at a small chute, waiting for something to happen. Did he propose to her while she tapped impatiently on the aluminum wall of the booth? Were they in the pick-up truck, bee-lined for Vegas, by the time I found their captured visages?

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