Chapter 7 - That Famous Photograph

 

 

Silver albumen print, 1866


egg white
paper
salt
silver
sunlight

all these whites
combined
in just the right balance, state and order
brought forth
the image
of Truganini

– a truly black and white affair –

the photo had been taken
her:
seated, stern, staring

her face Anglo-fied on a glass negative

the iridescent glow of her shell necklace
reduced to strings of black bullets

all her subtle hues
lost to the crudeness
of her time
in technology and sociology

a chicken egg – cracked open

albumen mixed with sodium chloride

cotton paper coated

left to dry

then

dipped in silver nitrate

pressed against negative

laid in the sun

once her dark face emerged into white history
a bath of sodium thiosulfate
to fix the image

but there's so much to fix

and so much still
yet to be broken

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