Facts About a Picture
by Lindsay Briggs from Lincoln High School
Published in the 2006-2007 WITS Anthology Mostly What I’m Made Of

To take a picture, the film has to be in the camera. Rolled in smooth with a few cranks and clicks. She stands with the sun hitting her face. Open up the aperture to 1.6 to capture the fading light as the sun goes down behind the trees. Turning the shutter speed to 150. Eyelashes flutter against the camera, looking through. Twisting the focus knob, you see her clearly now. A breeze picks up and rustles the trees. You hear it before you feel it. It softly caresses her hair, lifts it up and tosses it away from her face. Click. Immortalized forever, now on film. The vacant eyes stare back at you. A crinkle and crack as the roll ends and the crank won’t move. Over. Run up to your room. Brush away the escaping tear. Inhale, exhale, you’re back downstairs and into the world.

Developer, stop bath, rinse, fixer, rinse, hypoclear, rinse for five minutes. The negatives unroll before your eyes. Print that picture. The sooty lashes, smudged eyeliner. Dark purple bags under her eyes. How were they not that visible in person? Extreme exhaustion. The pills, drugs, exercise, malnutrition, no sleep, no cares, no life. No time, running out, running dry, running on nothing. Out of gas, right in the middle of the intersection. To take a picture you have to press the button. The results might scare you. This is why I photograph her, a peek into her head. A secret has been shared. I can see her life on her face.