The other day, I did a deep clean of all my office drawers and shelves. Threw out old retirement fund statements (I didn’t know I still had a retirement fund), expired receipts. Organized the random reams of paper I collected over the years. And then, in the midst of all that paperwork, I found these, crammed into an overflowing binder.
They’re prints from my first and only film photography class. I took it with the beautiful and exacting Jenny Fine, who pushed me to make prints five, ten times until they were right. I learned so much about photography from her and the class, but what I took from it was the physicality of the artistic process. Entering the dark room, positioning your negatives. Transferring the print back and forth through the chemicals with my hands (I think you were urged to use tongs, but I never did). I loved to burn the edges with my cupped palms, framing the prints with a moody vignette. And then you emerge with something that wasn’t there before.
These photos were taken with Cate, a fellow writer and artist, in early spring, when it was impractical to wear a thin vintage dress. But like a sport, she did. She traipsed with me through the woods, wearing all white, and we reenacted the original, darker themes of the original Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. At the end of the day, there was one last click to the camera, and it was back to the dark room, to see what it was we’d created.