Mesmerized by Magic

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Though distant it is still a powerful memory for me when I think back to my first encounter with photography. The moment came at the tender age of six as a young boy waking up to the surroundings of life in a small town in post-war Poland. My elder sister, as part of her high-school studies, was engaged in a photography course which required her to create a darkroom in our home. She covered all the windows in the middle of the day as if to deliberately attract my curiosity. I stayed to watch this unusual ritual.  With the dinning table full of trays filled with smelly liquids, barely visible by the dim amber light, my sister projected a strangely inverted image from this very cool table-top robot. As she took the blank piece of paper from the clutches of the robot and slipped it gingerly into the first tray I stood transfixed watching this strange ghostlike projection magically arrive. Out of nothingness, people I recognized were looking back at me from this miraculous piece of paper. It was unknown to me at the time that this moment would shape the rest of my life. I was completely spellbound by the experience however it would take another 11 years and a move across the ocean before I came to know this magic again. As a teenager in Canada I too became engaged in a photography program in school but this time my curiosity was supported by access to the tools of this supernatural craft. Having found the elixir of my life I drank it all in, I studied it, I practiced every chance I had and so declared that this would be my path for life.


The Shape-Shifter – a series in progress © 2013 Edward Gajdel