Bernard Page 2

Behind her a teenage girl, most likely her daugh-ter, half hidden, looks out, embarrassed, timid.
    His mind sails back to the years spent between taxis and airports and airless hotel rooms and clogged streets of riot and demand, murderous resentment, suicidal hope, the riots, the politics of hate, the weird bloody-minded euphoria of those strange wild years when he first entered the profession, fresh out of school, and cut his teeth on his craft through the wire services, which is what a young ambitious photographer did in those days. A crazy, exhilarating time, strangely exalting and terrible ...
   The woman is hurt, denouncing and accusing. As if caught in an act of shame.
    Leave us alone, you jackal!
    Mississippi, Haiti, Africa? And did I have even the decency to stop? Or did I just keep on shooting, drunk with the power of the camera,

the photojournalist if you please, shaming the world with your nakedness?
    Ambitious, idealistic, confused young thug that I was.
   There are dozens, hundreds, like this one, teem-ing in their show of misery, fury, exposed wounds.
    He slips the negative back in, pulls out another.
    A seascape, black beneath the sun.
    It startles him. He stares at the blackness for a moment, blinking. It shouldn't shock him so; it's a negative, after all. The exact opposite of what I saw.
   A few lean bones of fragile-looking fishing boats appear beneath the celluloid's once shiny surface. Serene. Remote. That time in Trinidad maybe -- a busman's holiday. For a travel brochure, never printed, for a cruise company that never launched.