In Photography, Writing

…but once I was on the edge of the world.

The highway was one lane. The bus too big for the road. There was no stopping here. The shoulder was a steep fall into the sea. I took these images long ago, but have never scanned them. The negatives were thin. That is to say my exposure was off when I took these. Again, there was no stopping, the sun was setting and I had no idea I would find myself it this position. I just started taking pictures while eyeballing the exposure. I did a poor job of things. Improperly exposed negatives can be thick or thin. An underexposed image will produce a thin negative. Exposure time in the dark room becomes problematic because any light through the negative is almost too much light. Over exposed images will produce thick negatives or denser negatives. In the darkroom, longer exposures are required and the image can get muddy or depending on the subject matter will be perfect.

I wasn’t thinking of any of that when I took these. I was thinking of how horrible it would have been to be a sailor in a shipwreck off the coast of Peru. Tossed and turned and pummeled and exhausted from a battle with the ocean. Swimming to the safety of the shore only to find this coastline waiting for you. I was thinking about that as I took these images through a tinted bus window rolling along the highway, my life in the hands of a bus driver I did not know. That was almost two decades ago. Now, I finally scan these thin negatives, clean up the water spots, the scratches and the dirt and hair. I start to think of that shipwrecked sailor coming to shore. Then I notice them. Two figures on a hillside looking out on the ocean without a boat, a road or even a footpath in sight. I wonder if they ever made it home.

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