The Prints and the Photographer
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.
What? Who's that?
Over here, Buddy.
It's me, you moron. Number 32A. I'm right under your nose.
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.
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.
Nothing special? Print me, and I'll show you something special.
I don't know. It's such a pain to setup the chemicals and everything.
I see some interesting tones, but..
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.
(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
(still not thrilled)
Oh there's something there alright. I'm going to have to dodge
and burn and crop and...
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.
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.
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.
You just wait and see.
The next morning, Photographer walks over to the screen where Picture
has been drying overnight, and turns it over.
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.
I suppose that's my fault? You printed me too dark. Do it over again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Print me! Print me!
Huh? Who's that.
They call me 12B....