The Prints and the Photographer
by
Dave Beckerman

Photographer:
(to Himself)
Personally, I like the discovered picture. I like the picture that refuses to reveal itself. The picture that sits in its contact sheet, buried under other junk. And then one day when you're lookin' for your shoe or something it pops up and surprises you.

Picture 32A:
Print me!

Photographer:
What? Who's that?

Picture 32A:
Over here, Buddy.

Photographer:
Who's that?

Picture 32A:
It's me, you moron. Number 32A. I'm right under your nose.

Photographer:
What are you talking about? 32A? Oh yeah. I remember you. You were just something I snapped while I was testing that new 90mm lens. Not a bad lens if you close it down a bit. But you, you're nothing special.

Picture 32A:
Nothing special? Are you blind? Just my luck. I get taken by a blind photographer.

The photographer looks at the tiny image with a loupe.

Picture 32A:
Nothing special? Print me, and I'll show you something special.

Photographer:
I don't know. It's such a pain to setup the chemicals and everything. I see some interesting tones, but..

Picture 32A:
Print me!

Photographer:
Oh. OK. But you'd better be worth the trouble.

The Photographer summons up his energy, and sets up a place where Picture can grow and show itself. It's called a darkroom.

Photographer:
(Grumbling to himself)
Print me, Print me. That's what they all say. Pictures like to pretend they're something new. How else can they get your attention.

Nevertheless, the Photographer after some trial and error, mostly error -- takes Picture 32A from the fixer for the first time and studies it carefully.

Photographer:
(still not thrilled)
Oh there's something there alright. I'm going to have to dodge and burn and crop and...

Picture 32A:
What a complainer. I told you I've got something special. Lets get to it. Don't crop me too much, though. You see that little speck of dust? Get it off! That's good. Now keep going.

Photographer works some more, and then, somewhat satisfied, takes Picture from its water bath, and studies it under an incandescent light.

Picture 32A:
(singing)
Look at me! I'm beautiful.

Picture 32A, now a print, stands right up and with its fully gleaming, lustrous sheen, all sorts of wonderful black and white tones are visible.

Photographer:
Ok, you do look beautiful now, but how will you look when you dry? I've seen many like you before that look fantastic when you first come out of the trays, but the next morning -- phooey.

Picture 32A:
You just wait and see.

The next morning, Photographer walks over to the screen where Picture has been drying overnight, and turns it over.

Photographer:
You see! I told you. You don't look as good as you did yesterday. I used to be able to see detail in that shadow, its gone now.

Picture 32A:
I suppose that's my fault? You printed me too dark. Do it over again.

Photographer:
Alright. But this is the last time. If you don't turn out right, I'm going to forget all about you.

The following morning, Photographer examines the dried print again. This time he's happy with it.

Picture 32A:
Hey, I'm not dressed yet. Put that nice mat you've got around me. You've got to dress me properly.

The photographer cuts a nice beveled mat for Picture, and carefully places Picture 32A in the mat.

Photographer:
Hmm. Not bad. I don't think you look as good as you did when you were wet yesterday. But there's something there. Maybe I didn't crop you enough.

Picture 32A:
Hey, if you cropped me anymore, there'd be nothing left. Put me in a nice frame now.

So Photographer takes the matted print, and puts it in a frame. Holds it up. "Yes", he thinks, now it has the look that it had when it first came out of the water.

Photographer:
That's not bad.

He goes to sleep, feeling that something new has been brought into the world. But in the middle of the night, a small voice calls out:

Picture 12B:
Print me! Print me!

Photographer:
Huh? Who's that.

Picture 12B:
They call me 12B....

FINIS