My first photography instructor taught us to never admit our mistakes. "Just say 'I meant to do it this way,'" she told us. But I don't always listen. So I'm here to tell you about the flat-out mistake that turned into the image to the left.
The original photo documented pitchers of colorful tropical juices on a breakfast buffet in Peru. When I printed the image, however, I mistakenly loaded the paper wrong, and the image printed on the back rather than the emulsion side.
The photo that emerged was wildly distorted, with the pigment caked on so heavily that it took two weeks to thoroughly dry. Once I realized it was an operator error, not a printer problem, I was rather intrigued by the result; it reminded me a bit of a polaroid manipulation. I scanned it and used software to overlay a ghost of the original image to restore some structure.
The result is one of my favorite recent images, which I've titled Tropical Punch. I had a canvas print made that is hanging on my kitchen wall, and a visitor offered to buy it the day after I hung it. We're still talking.
Adapted from my March 2012 email newsletter. Click here to join my email list.
© 2012 Lisa M. Dellwo