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The Photographer Of Nothing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   There once was a girl who took pictures of nothing. When she developed them, there were no people, no trees, no buildings, no stars. Just empty space; steel skies and dark hallways that led to Nothing.

"Why do you take pictures of Nothing?" a reporter queried, curious to know what drove her artistic temperament.

"I like," she replied, "I like to zoom in, to zoom out to see different perspectives. I like the clicking sounds of my camera and I like the red light and the heady smell of the chemicals when I develop them. But I hate this world that we have been condemned to live in and I do not want to immortalize it."

In a quandary, the reporter asked her, "But what is there to hate?"

"Well, you, for starters, and your questions. And the fact that everything changes. Those leaves keep falling off the trees, people die and while they're living they're pretty nasty."

"So I've noticed," he commented wryly, yet tirelessly pressed on, "But then how come your pictures of Nothing sell for so much money?"

The girl laughed because she truly didn't know why anyone would want her pictures.

"Do you realize that if I died tomorrow, they would triple in value? All because I wouldn't be around to produce them anymore. The law of supply and demand, you see."

"I suppose," the reporter responded as he looked at her photos of empty space. In those intensely quiet moments, he saw in these photos a heart that had grown cold throughout the years and felt for a moment the emptiness this artist felt, and the bitterness that burned in her blood. That was why she took pictures of Nothing; they were a reflection of the emptiness inside her - the inability to feel emotions and the desperate longing someone would remind her what it was like to feel again, and not be so cold.

"You don't really hate the world," he whispered softly, as he shut off his tape recorder.

"Of course I do! Of course I do," the artist repeated with less conviction.

"If you were a painter, would you paint Nothing?"

"No - you can't paint Nothing, you can only take pictures of it," she argued though her logic spun in concentric circles and she was as confusing to herself as she was to him.

"Or feel it," he said gently.

"Or what?"

"Or feel it. Here," he thumped his chest and watched her face for a reaction. Her mouth twitched just a little but her hand started shaking and she couldn't make them stop.

"You have to come out of that dark place," the reporter whispered and grasped her hands in his.

"I can't. I can't. I can't!" she screamed and thrashed her head. It had been too long - she could never leave now! This hell of her creation was all she knew.

"You can come out if you want to. Don't you want to feel Something besides this self hate?"

Then the tears began. Big fat tears that took their sweet time sliding down her cheeks before they evaporated on her upper lip.

"Look!" and he snapped the shade on the window to reveal the sunshine.

"My pictures! You're going to destroy my PICTURES!"

"But you can always take more. Focus on the light."

Only she had fallen to the floor in a pile of ragged skirts and self-loathing.

"If I promise to hold your hand, will you join me?" he said, and held out his hand patiently.

"I need -"

"Good. What do you need?"

"I need - help."

"That's why I'm here. I'll help you. My sole purpose in life is to help you," his soft voice was encouraging and she rose to her knees.

"Well, where's your halo?" she couldn't keep herself from muttering.

"I don't always wear it. Come along and bring your camera."

She put her camera about her neck and took his hand in hers.

He led her into a world she had forgotten, one she had chosen to ignore. A beautiful place she had not visited in years although its invitation was always outside her door.

What happened to the girl, the lonely artist who took pictures of Nothing that sold for so much money? She still uses her camera but there are flowers, and people and places in her pictures now. She basks in the sunshine and dances in the rain and doesn't sell her art anymore. Yet people find her very interesting and write books about her. She agrees but she never reads them because they would never understand what truly happened that day.

And the reporter, he with his forgotten halo disappeared after that - but he held her hand in a brief instant of life. She not only saw the light but felt it radiating out of another being and knew in her heart that the same light was within her. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

lrshap said...
Jan. 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm
Vey, Very good, I can feel everything you write, you have talent. I like this piece.
 
K9_Typical_Islander said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 7:41 am
I can't believe that no one has posted a comment on this before and the article got published- and a good thing. Imagine if such piece went unread and ignored, what a shame that would have been. This piece started off slow and in perspective, and then suddenly, a flood of emotions and intense moments kicked in. Thumbs up!  :D
 
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