Light & Shadow #26

Beautiful Blondes — Colfax, WA Circa 1979

One part of the Palouse Empire Fair in Colfax, Washington, was to bring history to life. That history includes the horsepower it took to open the agricultural bounty that lies within the Palouse country.

Each spring, an event was held to prepare and plant the rich soil and the crop harvested during the fair. All of it, using the old ways — horses, hand, and steam.

This picture is from the spring planting and is among the favorites of my career as a photojournalist. Sadly, it could have been gone forever. I would have missed the joy of watching it come to life in a tray of developer.

I attended events of any significance fully armed. A camera and gear bag would hang from my left shoulder, a camera from my right, and a third from my neck. Keeping track of the bits and pieces was often challenging. I failed the challenges on this day.

After taking pictures all morning, I decided to grab lunch. On the way to the food vendors, I saw a young boy playing with some film. I had unknowingly dropped a roll while loading a camera. He found it and indulged his curiosity by breaking open the canister.


I always think about my loss with this picture. What was on that roll of film the kid was playing with that day? How many good pictures did I lose because I decided to lighten the load and purge my files? How many good pictures were lost because I forgot to move the film from general storage to personal storage? I know there are many — I remember the pictures but don’t have the negatives.

I’m glad ‘Beautiful Blondes’ survived.

2 thoughts on “Light & Shadow #26”

  1. I am sorry about your photographs. On the other hand, the young boy had fun playing with the film. There is no telling what an influence something like that was for him. I, too, am glad the “Beautiful Blondes’ survived.

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