Vintage: Cracked photograph

I forgot it in the hot mount press

Sometimes the best things are accidental. “Happy accidents” as my old photo teacher used to say. This photograph is an example of that. 

It’s an old barn that I photographed in 1989. In a High School photo class, I put it in the mount press and started joking with some other students. I forgot about the print as we went to the darkroom together. At the end of the class period it was still in the press. When I exited the darkroom I could smell it all the way down the hallway. I don’t know why no one in the classroom could smell it cooking the 45 minutes it spent in the press. I guess they were all asleep. 

I sprinted to the classroom to rescue my print. When my teacher saw it he said “That, my friends, is why you never leave a print in the press. Aside from the risk of burning down the whole school!” 

It was a series of large bubbles when I pulled it out. Heat changes things. 

The bubbles started to fall and configured themselves into this pattern of cracks of large and small fragments. I turned it in for a grade. I got an F. I didn’t care. I thought it was interesting. A pattern on top of a pattern. 

Thomas Edison accidentally burned down his lab one time. As it was burning he yelled to his children, “Go get your mother! Tell her to bring her friends. They’ll never see another fire this good again.” 

My dad told me about his accidental discovery of a cleaner that removes the stubborn ring around his hot tub. “I spilled a little on the tub and as it ran down through the ring, it removed it perfectly.” 

Don’t you think that the discovery of salt was accidental? “Thor, put this crushed rock on your Mastedon heart. It masks the gamey flavor and pulls out the texture! It’s delicious!”

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