chapter  11
15 Pages

Italo Calvino, The Adventures of a Photographer

When spring comes, the city’s inhabitants, by the hundreds of thousands, go out

on Sundays with leather cases over their shoulders. And they photograph one

another. They come back as happy as hunters with bulging game bags; they spend

days waiting, with sweet anxiety, to see the developed pictures (anxiety to which

some add the subtle pleasure of alchemistic manipulations in the darkroom,

forbidding any intrusion by members of the family, relishing the acid smell that is

harsh to the nostrils). It is only when they have the photos before their eyes that they

seem to take tangible possession of the day they spent, only then that the

mountain stream, the movement of the child with his pail, the glint of the sun on

the wife’s legs take on the irrevocability of what has been and can no longer be

doubted. Everything else can drown in the unreliable shadow of memory.