WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHER- SHORT STORY- STEPHEN LEACOCK
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Stephen Leacock’s short story With the Photographer is taken from the literary collection “Behind the beyond, and other contribution to Human Knowledge” published in 1913. In this work the author has shared his bitter experience with a professional photographer in a humorous tone. It remained as a lifetime experience for him. He used first person narration. and the narrator is an unnamed 40 years old, man.
Author: A 40 years old, man. He is the protagonist of the story and the narrator.
Photographer: A drooping man in a gray suit.
Studio- In those days studio plays a major role in getting a person photographed unlike the present age where there is a variety of gadgets available.
One fine day, the Author went to a studio to take a photograph of him. “I want my photograph taken”, said the Author to the Photographer, here ‘my photograph’ plays a major role throughout the story. After looking at him, the Photographer who is a drooping man in gray suit asked him to sit and wait without enthusiasm. After an hour, he asked him to come in. Author went in and sat down under a beam of sunlight filtered through a sheet of factory cotton. He rolled his camera but was not satisfied with something which made the author look very grave and shook. “The face is quite wrong”, he said. Even though it is humiliating, the author accepted his statement. He found fault with every part of the author’s face and suggested that it would have been better if it was three-quarters full. He kept on complaining about his head, ears and his facial features and twisted it. Soon after, he told him to open his wide mouth a little and close it immediately. When the photographer continued finding faults with his face and physical appearance, author asked him to stop his complaints.
“This face is my face. It is not yours, it is mine. I’ve lived with it for forty years and…”
After speaking harshly, author started to rise from the seat; in the meantime the photographer pulled the string in the camera and took the photograph without the conscious knowledge of author. He had caught the author in a moment of animation (in today’s sense candid). Author asked to show his picture but he neglected and asked him to come back on Saturday to collect the developed proof.
Author came back to the photo studio on Saturday to receive his copy of the photograph. When the photographer unfolded the proof author was shocked and asked “is it me?” The photograph is quite unlike of him all his facial features were altered. The photographer had effected many changes and retouched them. He also removed the eyebrows and drawn new ones and adjusted his mouth a little. He happily stated that, he used a process named the delphide for removing them. He had even removed the hair that was on his face. This enraged Author to blast over the photographer. He said he had come there for a photograph exactly like him, the real him but the photographer has changed his whole appearance to show his professional photographer tag. He asked him to keep that photograph with him because, for him it is s worthless bauble. In the end, Author left that studio with tears.
Originality is beautiful and real. Being an original is about finding something unique about one self amid the part of you that goes along with the flow. People who can bring you down are everywhere. Some do it unconsciously and some take pride in belittling other people and in making one feel bad about them self. If everything is judged by appearance, no one can see the sweet fruit hidden like in a jackfruit. Being your self is like a crown we wear it all the time. An original is worth more than a copy.
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