At this point, I’d been on the not-so-tropical island of Newfoundland photographing for nearly two weeks and traveling well-over 3,500 miles while doing so. Yet, laying underneath in the psychic morass known as my mind was the small, festering question as to whether or not I had achieved that for which I had come. If I didn’t, I could not simply return and re-photograph it; I would never see it again with the freshness and the mystery first experienced. I could only hope that I did it honestly and the project justice. These are just some of the fears photographers have while attempting such an endeavor as this.
Shooting it on film meant that I was not going to know what I had until all the film, some 3,000 exposures in all, was processed and proofed. There was no deadline imposed other than the urgency I felt wanting to see what was there. Many hours in the darkroom awaited me. This is not like waiting for the envelope to be read at an awards banquet and the outcome announced quickly. It would only be revealed in multiples of 12-36 exposures at a time. In this case, it was to be like 3,000 cliff-hangers in a Saturday morning serial. Does Pauline get rescued from the railroad tracks? Probably. Does Flash escape the clutches of the evil Ming the Merciless? Oh, we hope so. Yes, that was what it was like. I was going to have to keep processing the film and proofing it before I was able to see exactly what was there. There were going to be many moments of truth before me.
I had gone up to Newfoundland to explore, photograph, learn, and understand isolation in a Western culture. There aren’t too many inhabited places in the western hemisphere that fill that bill, but Newfoundland did. So I got that part right. But it was far from certain if I had succeeded with the photography. There were still a few more days in which I’d be photographing before I left for home and the work now in front of me. The really lame photographers joke fits perfectly here: I was going to have to see what developed.