The Results

The horror of unexposed film.

There are two words a Lebanese photographer dreads more than any else. I can only imagine the horrors war photojournalists faced during the height of the Lebanese conflict, when they risked life and limb to do their jobs. But these two words, I believe, signify even worse fears. Worst of all, every one of us has heard them before.

The first word is “mahrouq.” Literally meaning “burned,” this is what your developer says to you when your film has been overexposed due to light leaking into the camera, improper loading, or human error. It is rare but it does happen.

The second, and even rarer, terrifying word is “fadé,” which literally means empty. Today I had the misfortune of hearing this word (accompanied with a sudden wave of nostalgia) when, for the first time in two years, I paid a visit to my neighborhood film lab. Yesterday I had shot a roll of 27 frames on a disposable camera, and was eagerly looking forward to the results. Apparently, however, the film roll had jammed in the camera from the very start, which meant that I was literally shooting blanks the whole time, without even knowing it.

Now all I have to show for last night is a strip of unexposed film. Time for Take Two.

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