Picture Perfect

The frame was perfect. Black with silver gilt edging. All it needed was the perfect picture to fill it. Nothing less would do.

Jack was a photographer. He may not have sold any pictures or received any commissions yet, but it was in his blood. He knew everything about the art. His bookshelves creaked with biographies and collections of the greats, from Capa and the Magnum journalists, through Bailey and the Life freelancers, to the greatest of them all – Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Jack had a Leica M9, just like his hero. Not digital, actual 35mm film. Like his hero, he wandered the streets searching for the perfect moment to be captured with one click, to enshrine forever.

He scanned people’s faces, searching for that moment of true honesty, a perfect beauty, but a smirk, a sly twist, a lolling tongue, always conspired to spoil a briefly hopeful moment. On closer inspection every face was too pretty, too ugly, too messy. No-one was right. But Jack was not discouraged. Perfection was worth waiting for. He would be patient. So the photographer wandered on, finger poised, but the shutter remained closed.

He looked at landscapes, but the shadows were never quite right, the hills not steep enough, the tree’s branches too askew. Wherever he looked, heart quickening expectantly, there was always something to spoil the moment.

On and on Jack wandered in his hopeless quest, while at home his perfect frame remained empty, it’s blank heart a perfect white, gathering dust.

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