Photography is . . . .
Sometimes, one finds oneself capturing a historical image using a historical process, and the resulting image looks so bad some might assume it is, in itself, historical.
Also, photography is sometimes frustrating. That is to say, photography sometimes puts one in frustrating situations. After lugging all of my camera gear around hot D.C. all July morning (more or less stripping at every x-ray machine to get all of my film and lead glass accessories through, and trust me, there are a lot of checkpoints), I get to see the Constitution. The real one. And by all my camera gear, I mean a 35mm SLR, a pair of filters, and a few rolls of film. While this is not much in the grand scheme of photo-things, when one is both coming from digital and chasing around sixty high school students, it’s enough.
Anyway, in order to preserve the Constitution, there is no flash photography permitted. Despite this, since recent advances in camera technology have automated the act of recording an image to the point that few people even know how to control their cameras, a flash goes off at a rate of approximately once per minute. Every time a flash pops on a $59 Wal-Mart digital camera, everyone looks at me. “That guy has an old camera, and old cameras have flashes!” Not only do I know how to enable or disable a flash, my Ricoh doesn’t have one. If I had an enormous flash on the hotshoe whirring with 8000 volts of document-destroying firepower, it would’ve been fair. I didn’t, and it wasn’t.
Now that I’ve sorted out and tagged the scans of the D.C. negatives, I didn’t have to go back to the book o’ negatives to figure out that this is Kodak T-Max 400 (though you’d never know it by the image) developed in Clayton F76+.