When you shoot film, you can utilize the zone system to determine whether to use a longer or shorter development and affect your image in all these different ways based on the scene you’ve pre-visualized.
If you’re looking at it on a chart of greys, Zone 10 is pure white. Zone 0 is pure black. Skin tone is Zone 5. Zone 3 is shadow with detail and Zone 8 is highlight with detail. Zone 6, as skin tone, is an inherently Caucasian skin tone.
Goddard was the filmmaker who proclaimed Kodak films racist in the 70s. He wouldn’t use them to shoot a project because they couldn’t reliably capture the skin tones of people of color.
To me, it was a really interesting example of how complex racism can be. It doesn’t matter if Kodak was acting racistly, because the lived experience of people was the same. If you were a person of color who was trying to get your wedding photo taken, that was the grinder with Kodak. Because you have dark skin and a white dress. No bride wants to spend all the money on a dress for her special day and see no detail in the pictures, so if you’re a photographer trying to capture the detail in the dress, all of her skin tone is gone. She just turns into kind of a black smear.
Was there someone at Kodak Films thinking, “hey, let’s continue to marginalize a whole group of people?” No, of course not. They were probably thinking, “no one is taking pictures of shadows.” People are always taking pictures of stuff that’s lit. Doesn’t really matter because the end result is the same which is, great, I can’t get my fucking picture taken.
[The images in this series, Against Monolith, exist only in Zone 0 to Zone 3. The title of this photograph is Julia.]
brett william childs
Today the winner of our Duende contest returns. A terrarium breaks somewhere in our mind; then we’re left with swallows.
Tiny Terrarium Girl
You’re no bigger than my sun-spotted hands. I’ve fixed a home for you in our granddaughter’s old succulent terrarium. Every afternoon, you dip macaron crumbs into a thimble filled to the rim with Darjeeling tea. I like to imagine each sip tastes like a kiss. I’m knitting you a sweater of crocus-purple yarn for when the winter comes. Stitching a little succulent plant on the front, too. I don’t mind when I prick my fingers, as long as it’s for you.
You hadn’t always been this small, dearest wife. It makes my heart feel a bit tight that you’d forget, but I guess that’s dementia for you. Your laughter used to fill rooms, squeezing out of the cracks in the mortar and into the most obstinate hearts. At least you look peaceful at night, the way you sleep with your wrinkly thumb in your mouth and your white cirrus hair fanning out across the pillow.
I wonder, do you dream of us?
Our family visits daily now. Every child we’ve fostered, and all their own children too. They polish your little succulent bubble; tuck you safely on their laps while they sun themselves on the porch; talk to you in soothing rhythms as they show you around our autumn-clad backyard and our lives for the one-hundredth-and-first time. And oh, there goes my heart again, feeling like a pincushion.
Our granddaughter, the one whose terrarium I borrowed, reads to you from her favorite zoology book. She says she likes the birds and the jellyfish, because they’re the freest of them all.
After everyone has left, you squeeze my finger in your tiny fists; a rare-jewel moment of lucidity. Don’t worry about the end, you say. It’s going to be a bit like swimming and a lot like flying.
Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Forge Literary, Baltimore Review, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and other venues. Avra won the 2019 Bacopa Literary Review prize for fiction. You can find her on twitter @avramargariti.
Ojo Taiye is a young Nigerian who uses poetry as a handy tool to write his frustration with society. He also makes use of collage & sampling techniques.
from The Blue Heron, Kelli Hoppmann, oil on panel, 2014
One swallow can’t make a summer, but what if
you had more swallows? You can afford it, you tell
yourself, flinging more petals to a brilliant wind.
You have always prided yourself on not giving up,
on deliberately facing adversity. Misfortune is only
misinterpreted opportunity. Hard work and buckle
down and something will come up, a flower looking
for the sun’s warm kiss just before the lawnmower
visits. Fort Resolution is just over yonder mountain.
You know what they say about lemons. If you get
booted, put on hiking boots—or is it bootstraps?
If you slip, go on dancing in your satin slippers.
If you become a strange bird caught in the cold
steel of a winter deeper than you know, watch
unattainable fish swimming beneath silver ice,
under your long, longing beak, your frozen claws.
F. J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and Star*Line, and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. She has competed at National Poetry Slam as a member of the Madison, WI, Urban Spoken Word team. Her work appears irregularly in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s SF, and elsewhere in the alphabet. Her dystopian collection of first-contact expedition reports, A Catalogue of the Further Suns, won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest and the 2018 SFPA Elgin Chapbook Award.