KidSpirit

Alone in the Darkroom

Exploring HumorAwesome Moments
Artwork by: Rebecca Brudner

have spent seven weeks every summer for the past seven years at a camp in a small town called Poland, Maine. Very few people have ever heard of Poland so I answer their puzzled looks with “Poland… you know, like the water.”

Poland Springs is the only major attraction in Poland and the town itself is tiny by my big city standards, but it is the perfect place to spend my summers. There I am surrounded by a few ice cream parlors and lobster restaurants, a beautiful lake, my best friends, and great tasting water. There are many places on the campus that I love, one of them being the darkroom in the photography lab. I love black and white film photography, especially when I get to develop pictures of one of my favorite places in the world.

One day this past summer I was lucky enough to be alone in the darkroom, something that rarely happens, since the darkroom is usually packed with all seven enlargers occupied. To those of you who have never been in a darkroom: number one, an enlarger is the machine that projects the image from your film onto paper, and number two, try your hardest to go into one some day, it really is an incredible experience that I highly recommend. It’s amazing to take a picture of something, to capture a single object or moment, and then to be able to watch the image slowly appear before your eyes. I was so incredibly happy during those forty-five minutes. I had absolutely nothing to worry about, and the images all came out better than I could have imagined. I still have one mounted on my wall in my room, of a loose single feather, alone on the gravel pathway. The room was filled with the strong smell of the photo chemicals and Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” was blasting from the iPod speakers (another benefit of being alone in the darkroom is being able to choose the background music without the opinion of ten other girls). “Cause I don’t know how it gets better than this,” I sang along to the familiar lyrics.

In that moment, I felt I could do anything. A wave of reassurance rushed over me, making me feel that no matter what happens in the future, everything would end up okay. I realized how incredibly lucky I am to be able to spend my summers in a place where I know my best friends are never farther than a two-minute walk away. I thought about how although I was alone during that time, camp is a place where I constantly feel surrounded by support and love. I promised myself that I would remember to be grateful for the small, seemingly insignificant moments like this one in my life that make me who I am, and to be grateful that I have been blessed with always being surrounded by an amazing group of friends.

Katie Hartman is a high school sophomore who lives in Manhattan. She enjoys reading, writing, competitive swimming, and spending time with her friends and family.

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