It is wrong to look back to your youth and identify your mistakes with the highlighting pen of regret. What is done is done. As the divine Edith Piaf sang "Non, je ne regrette rien" I can stand here, face the world, and shout out loud : "I regret nothing" ..... except perhaps that bulk order of stipple photographic paper. Let me explain.
I went looking for an old photograph of a picnic: searching through my archives, flicking through my prints, holding strip after strip of negatives up to the August sunlight. You would think that there would be loads. Picnics have all the ingredients of fine photographic fayre : people, pleasure, summer days, and aluminium teapots. But us Burnett's are a miserable lot : we spend smiles as if they were currency. The best I could come up with was an old print of my parents, Albert and Gladys, in a state of near exhaustion after attempting to enjoy a picnic. I checked to see if I still had the negative but all the squinting in the world revealed nothing. No problem, I popped the print in the scanner and pressed the magic button.
Moments later I shouted out "Sodding Stipple" with a vehemence that brought my Good Lady Wife rushing in from her afternoon nap. When I was but a lad, I bought a bulk supply of stipple photographic paper which, for a year or two, I used for all the home printing of my photographs. It was cheap, and as long as you looked at it from a distance, it was reasonably acceptable if you weren't too concerned with detail. It was the Anaglypta of photography, the Artex of imaging. The problem with it is, that when you attempt to scan a stipple photograph you get something that looks as if it has been baked on a cellophane bag. Everything - skin, seas, fields and aluminium teapots - is transformed into little ridges of deflected light. Everything is robbed of detail.
My Sepia Saturday post this week is therefore living proof that the mistakes of one's youth will eventually come back to haunt you. If you would like to see some clearer photographs of picnics, you can go to the Sepia Saturday Website and follow all the links you will find there.