An innocuous click.
A little bit of light sneaks in and deposits itself on the surface of the film. By the time the roll finishes, I’ve forgotten most frames. A few rolls later, it’s a complete blur. Even though I don’t remember the particulars, I am filled with hope – surely there’s got to be something good on this bunch of unprocessed film?
The film makes it’s way onto reels and into tanks. Chemicals swish in and out, and the film gets hung up to dry. Days later, visible proof that a photograph was indeed taken.
Even as I cut the negatives and slide them into their protective sleeves, a quick glance makes me wonder what I was thinking when I took most of those photographs. Closer inspection results in even more disappointment – maybe the person blinked, or maybe 1/4th of a second really was too slow to handhold. Still, there’s usually at least a couple that I am itching to print.
These negatives make their way into the darkroom to be enlarged into prints. More light, more chemicals, and after about 30 minutes of testing and adjusting, I have a soggy 5x7 in my hands. I brush off the lint as the print rolls off the dryer, and finally have a photograph to behold.
As I flip through the stack of prints made that day, still more photographs fall away. Even though they made it this far, sometimes they just don’t have the spark. But there are some that I am pleased with, and few things are more beautiful than a real silver gelatin print on glossy fiber paper.