Having been brought up on a steady diet of UFO’s, shadowy gunmen on grassy knolls, and the carburettor that the big oil companies bought up and suppressed, I am naturally attuned to the vibrations that emanate from photography’s secret vault. It can now all be revealed, but make sure that no-one else sees you reading this.
1. Cameras do not make pictures, any more than cows make cheese. They produce a sort of a thin runny white set of digital codes that must be heated, stirred, and fermented with yeast before it actually sets into a jpeg. Professional jpeg makers have large vats of files in their clean white premises and make images in commercial quantities. Many jpegs are stored for up to 6 months to develop tone and colour.
2. Professional photographers do not profess anything, apart from their prices and a desire for drink. When asked to teach, they will, but mostly by horrid example. Motion picture students who still use film are always reeling back in horror.
3. Well-known German camera making firms have vanished over the last 50 years – this is not economics or the rise of Japanese makers. It is the result of a deliberate policy on the part of the surviving manufacturers to eat the management and employees of the the vanished factories. Germans are a meaty people and it has taken quite a few years to polish off the last of the Praktica, Ihagee, and Rollei staff members. Also a great deal of potatoes, sauerkraut, and beer. Cannibalism is not illegal in 6 German states.
4. Underwater cameras sent down photograph the wreck of the ABOUKIR, CRESSY, and HOGUE have caught glimpses of a chalk message on the sides of the vessels in German. Translated, it says ” Tag, you’re it”.
5. No members of the 1922 expedition to unearth the Egyptian Pharaoh are still alive. And the Pharaoh isn’t looking all that well either.
6. After a plan of shuffling them past western observers at an air show in 1956, aerial reconnaissance photos taken of Soviet bomber bases in 1961 revealed the true nature of the Soviet air threat – about 24 BISON bombers. Didn’t the Americans feel silly after this, having responded by building 800 B-52’s, which they had ready to bomb Russia. Boy, that played out well, Mr. Khrushchev…
7. No-one can photograph inside their own colon with a Speed Graphic camera – but a number of X-rays from a San Francisco emergency department show how close some have come to being successful. The 110 Kodak Instamatic was probably a given but some surprise was expressed at the Rolleicord, particularly as the waist-level finder was open.
8. Digital photography was invented by the Russians in 1867, along with television, penicillin, and the pull-up bra.
9. In an effort to make the darkroom a safer place for wet-plate workers by replacing the ether used to dissolve collodion – never a good idea with naked flames – the Du Pont laboratories released a formula for sensitising plates that involved a simple mixture of fulminate of mercury, picric acid crystals, and nitrated toluene. The Du Pont Crater is one of the tourist attraction highlights of Rochester, N.Y. and may be descended in special cages.
10. The family of Carrie Nation bought up all the nude photographs of the great anti-liquor campaigner and suppressed them. All but one, and this is held in a secret vault at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Kentucky. It is used to scour out the oak barrels that they use for ageing the bourbon.