When I first saw it, I was captivated by it. A simple photo of a friend on Facebook grabbed and held my attention but it was no ordinary photograph. I had hoped there was more of an explanation to it than mere Photoshop and I was thrilled to hear her tell the story behind the picture.
She had agreed to have her portrait done by her friend who is fascinated by the origin of photography. He posed her and painstakingly went through the process that photographers went through back in the late 1800’s. His camera was an antique with the accordion-style lens and the black hood that covered the head of the photographer.
He waited until the precise moment that he thought he had captured her true essence and he let his finger plunge the button that would acquire every detail of her spirit. The result of his effort was remarkable. He printed her face on tin to truly encapsulate the original process of printing a photograph.
I stared at her photo for a long time. There was so much more to it than just a picture of her face. There was a story in her eyes. His diligent process captured much more than just who she is now. This snapshot seemed to hold the story of generations, perhaps lifetimes of moments that led up to her being in his studio and posing for this shot.
It wasn’t a selfie or a picture as a second thought. There weren’t 100 takes in a minute because that is all we have time for nowadays. He paused, he let the camera do what it was meant to do and he took a thousand stories, captured them in one single photo and printed them on a piece of tin.
Look at the artwork in this photo and hopefully you can now understand why I was so drawn to my friend’s picture. Without the use of any computer tricks, this photograph projects so much more than just a face on a piece of paper or a computer screen. This picture has depth, emotion and a lifetime of moments that led to her presence in our present reality.
If I ever have the chance to do this, I will jump at it. I would love to see what kind of story my face has to tell and what ghosts from my past linger in the background, searching for recognition.