Geoff Sanderson, a photographer friend of mine from Yorkshire, England, and I were emailing about a particular digital effect on one of my images, so we started talking about how I used to create montages in my Boston, pre-computer days, with an old enlarger using my bathroom as my darkroom.
This is part of what I wrote him:
I learned that when I would shine half of a negative onto developing paper(blocking the half with a cardboard with torn edges that I kept moving slightly to avoid a straight line there...then reversed the negative or put in another and did the same with the cardboard from the other side, I got my montage. It was hit and miss since you don't know what you have until it goes into the solution, but I got a few neat ones. I still have one I haven't lost. I'll hold it up to my webcam and send it from there. I was really lucky in lining up those bricks unseen.
My shot (click to enlarge):
I found this little story from Geoff this morning, thought it was delightful and asked his permission to post it.
Yes, that was a brilliant piece of montage, alright! There's a story in that picture, though!
A poor but beautiful young girl was seduced by a rich businessman, and became pregnant. In the usual course of time, she gave birth to twin boys. A few months later one of the babies became ill and had to go into hospital. One day the girl was walking through the streets, holding her other son, when she came face-to-face with her seducer as he was getting out of his car. He was startled to see her with the baby and, not being a heartless man, fell into conversation with her. He arranged to meet her later at her small room in a poor part of town.
He told the girl that his wife was unable to conceive, and that he would adopt the boy and bring him up as his own. He was unaware that the child had a brother, the girl having concealed the fact from him. His only stipulation was that the girl renounce all rights to the child, and never attempt to see him again; in return, he would educate the boy and bring him to inherit his business empire, and would give the girl sufficient money to be able to live comfortably for many years. After much soul-searching, the young mother agreed.
The sick baby made a good recovery, and the girl took him to live in a town a thousand miles away from where he was born. Her money enabled her to start a small dress-shop, and take on a girl to help her with the baby. She soon found that she had a natural flair for business and an eye for street fashion, and her shop flourished. Soon she opened another shop, then another, and business was booming. In a few years, she owned a chain of fashion stores, with her own brand of accessories and perfume. She was able to give the boy a good education, and he gained a place in the top business school in the country.
Her son proved that he had inherited both his mother's flair for commerce, and his unknown father's sound financial ability. He took over the management of the fashion chain, while his mother concentrated on the artistic direction. Under his direction, the business grew to a point where it became unwieldy as a family-owned enterprise, and they decided to launch it on the stock market and thus gain the injection of capital necessary for expansion.
In the intervening years, the other boy had prospered under his father's tutelage, and had been become vice-president of their investment company. His particular flair was to buy into young, up-and-coming quoted companies, acquire a big enough share of the capital to give him a seat on the board, then use his financial acumen to take the business to even greater heights. Always on the look-out for such businesses, his attention was attracted to a chain of fashion stores down in the south which was soon to go public.
The usual feelers were put out, using intermediaries who specialised in such deals and, when the fashion chain was launched on the exchange, his company bought as many shares as they could get hold of. As often happened to newly-quoted companies, the share price sank over the first year, and his firm was able to buy sufficient stock to become the majority holder, after the original owners.
It thus became necessary for the principals of both business to meet and discuss intentions and strategy. Both these young men had built their success on sound, down-to-earth attitudes, eschewing the outward show of luxury. So it came about that the meeting took place in the rather shabby business district of a midland city where they both happened to be interested in some property. Leaving their cars behind, they both strode out down the street to the meeting that was to change their lives for ever ...
Story by Geoff Sanderson, illustration by Pris Campbell. April 2008.
(Don't we 'got fun', as the song goes:-)