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10 May 2017

We've long prized a tattered book titled Twice-Told Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We bought it for 50 cents at a used book store somewhere around here a long time ago.

From Tiburon. An unpublished photo showing the view of San Francisco from beyond the walkway to the ferry. We liked the rocks, the bikes, the city and the boat but the walkway's angle was disturbing against the skyline.

It dates to 1893, making it a bit too fragile to read three times. But it sometimes reminds us, just by sitting within view on the shelf, that there are stories that are never told, too.

And not just stories. There are photos never shown. And being never shown are never seen.

Which, on the whole, is welcome relief. Far too many photos are shown, an unhealthy percentage of which are also seen.

We suspect you are groaning in agreement.

It's easy to dismiss a story untold or a photo unseen. But a second look will often find some gem in the rock. Well, not often. But sometimes. Surely.

So we thought we'd show you one image we didn't publish and a few stories we decided against, all in one place, so you can skip it easily enough, just as we originally intended.


In Not Everybody Gets To Play, we didn't reflect on the state of photographic exhibitions at our major museums. The thought, however, occurs to us every time we visit SFMOMA or edit our Calendar of Events.

Digital photography has been around since the 1990s now but almost no digital photographer has managed to sneak their work into a museum. We didn't do the research on that, so we never published the observation.

We won't name names (which is only appropriate in an unpublised piece), but you know who we mean.

We mean every photographer whose work is not printed but flashes before our eyes on the screen. Museums seems to require printed works on paper. Cultural artifacts. An object. Something you can sell.

Where is the museum of digital photography? The one that lets everybody play?

Needless to say in a story about things not said, we never found it, although we continue to look for this mythical museum.


In The Photo Editor's Lament, we decided against pointing out the trend to surf the Web on your phone instead of a monitor. That would, had we mentioned it, have been the photo editor's lament.

Look at it from the photo editor's point of view. Sitting there in front of a gorgeous 98-percent DCI-P3 color space screen, hooded to avoid being spoiled by ambient light, calibrated to within a pinch of perfection, the photo editor tweaks every bit of the image into glorious beauty at 32 inches.

And then what happens?

It gets downsized to fit on some smartphone screen smaller than your average cocktail napkin.

The viewing experience becomes similar to looking through a sewer grate to find that glimmer of sparkling metal that would be your house keys.

We voted this story down because, as Uncle Adolf (who was not our uncle and therefore qualifies for inclusion in this piece) from Brighton used to say (precariously balancing the long white ash on the tip of his cigar), "What can you do?"

The implied answer to his rhetorical question being, befitting our theme, "Nothing."


What you can do, we have subsequently discovered, however, is something. You just need a good nap to restore your interest and energy. As any newborn would tell you if only they could talk.

So, taking the advice of that newborn who is unable to dispense it, we are going to find a soft spot on the couch and dream up something for tomorrow.

There's always tomorrow, as quite a few people have pointed out more than once.

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