by LuAnn Billett
Jules Talbot has always seen the world in black and white. Or at least since her German grandfather began teaching her the art of photography. It’s the 1990’s, digital is crap and film is the best and only game in town. Jules embraces the safety of a life lived behind the camera lens and the sensory deprivation of her darkroom. Her black sweaters, scuffed combat boots, and grayscale attitude disguise her wish for a normal teenage existence.
That is, until a freak accident sparks something in her. She begins seeing people in full, saturated color. Even her black and white photos appear to her in color, moving images. Jules is certain she’s losing her mind, and worse, has become even more of an oddity than she felt before. On a visit to Philly’s gritty South Street she discovers a mysterious zine. A DIY comic proving she is not alone Jules is sure she would rather be alone than part of a group of people with freak powers. Finding her best friend hanging dead after school forces her to reevaluate her unusual abilities. She needs to learn to embrace her divergent gifts as well as find others with powers like hers if she is going to catch a killer.
A combination of The Hidden Memory of Objects by Daniella Amato, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and a touch of Veronica Mars, Shutter Speed mixes late 1980’s and early 1990’s music, pre-gentrification Philadelphia, the art of photography, and the journey of a young woman finding her place and destiny in a pre-internet, pre-cell phone, analog world. Jules narrative is enhanced by photographs taken by the writer in the early 1990’s, as well as the present. All shot on 35mm and medium format black and white film.
LuAnn Billett is a photographer, a freelance video editor, and writer in addition to teaching photography in a private boarding school for 22 years. She is the author of the popular 2018 memoir Sensitivity Girl.