April 27, 2021 By Georgia DeBarr

Thank You, Professor

One of the most interesting classes I took in college was photography. I had never held a SLR (single lens reflex) camera or been in a dark room, but I wanted to learn about both.

After lectures about the parts and ability of the camera to capture the details of any subject, I went out “in the field” on a very sunny day to look through the lens.

I captured my roommate sitting on the steps of our residence hall and the resulting photo of her was regarded as “a winner” by my professor because you could easily see even the fine blond hair on her arms. Such detail was fascinating to this novice.

The campus in Ohio had many trees and shady places and after a session outdoors, I would retreat to the dark room to develop my subject photos. What a fascinating place to spend time! How exciting to watch the pictures appear in the developing trays.

When semester finals came up, all of us in the class were vying for time in the dark room to complete our assignments. I had exposed a roll of film, which held all of the assigned photo subjects. I set up the developing trays — measuring out the liquids that would bring the pictures to the waiting portfolio. I turned to the roll of negatives that held my final grade photos. It was nestled in the film developer and I expectantly took it out and — wait! What happened? Where were my pictures? Nothing had happened. Looking at the negative roll all I saw was black!

In total shock, I realized that the student who had used the dark room before me had carelessly mixed the chemicals so the final combination of the two simply cancelled out each other and left a useless liquid. Too late I remembered that one can “taste the liquids” to determine that they are the correct formula.

Downtrodden, I sadly approached my professor and told him about the darkroom disaster. He kindly considered the outcome of my exam, and because I truly had completed all the other assignments and had attended all the classes, he bestowed a “B” for my final grade.


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