Friday, March 19, 2010

Tsemay Child, Still from Motion, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, February, 2010

Just yesterday the thought of seeing this image on film seemed impossible, the result of a lens failure discovered the week before. Once discovered, a call was made to the photographic laboratory to process the last two rolls of my trip to Ethiopia.

The result: the rolls displayed streaks the length of the film.

After reviewing these two rolls as well as the rolls processed locally, it became clear that the source of the streaks was a shutter failure in the lens.

What did that mean? When did the lens fail? At the beginning of the trip to Ethiopia?

These questions filled my mind for five days this past week, until yesterday's phone call from the laboratory. After processing two rolls of film from each day during the trip, the possibility that the lens failed on the last day seemed more probable. All rolls processed beautifully.

Now, the film from the last day is to be processed so as to ascertain the exact moment of failure, hopefully limited to the very last day.

My hope is that the above child, as well as the other children, are represented on film as well as in still images from the motion footage.

Over and over again, my friends hear from me stories of dreams, dreams where the camera breaks down, where the tripod is forgotten, when the rolls were confiscated and so on. These dreams usually occur a month or so prior to a trip. They are usually hollow, having never become reality.

This past week, one of those dreams became a reality. Hopefully that reality is limited to a few rolls at the end of the trip. Soon we will know the truth.

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