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Time and again

She wore a white shawl, white court shoes

And a long string of white pearls cast so they

Ran down her back in a most provocative

Display of youth and devil-may-care and that

Was it! Nothing left To the imagination and

Oh did this early camera love her? I’ll say it

Did and so did I - instantly. Problem was, I

Live in the present and she was a model living

In Paris in 1917 and there was no way we

Could ever hope to meet


It was a Wednesday and the museum almost

Deserted. No school trips, no students, no casual

Visitors and so I had the place to myself apart from

A guard employed to keep an eagle-eye out for

Anything suspicious and who acknowledge me

With a nod as he toured the exhibits


The old plate camera was big enough to sit in

Resting on rack and pinion runners with a large

Handle that moved the whole shooting match

Backwards and forwards with a view to securing

A crisp image. The camera, so the story goes, had

A peculiar distinction, it was claimed to have

Been used to capture images of fairies and ghosts

And had done so very successfully indeed


A likely story I thought and truly an epic step in

Photography if true. However unlikely the tale the

Beauty in the shawl, shoes and pearls had also

Graced the huge lens of this camera and for that

Reason alone I wanted to learn more about it

Chairs had been arranged in front of the camera in

Preparation for a talk due to begin that evening at

7pm and here then at 3pm on a quiet afternoon was

The perfect opportunity for me to study this most

Intriguing device


I chose a middle chair directly in front of the lens

Made myself comfortable and began sketching

When it was I feel asleep I honestly don't remember

But I do vaguely recall the cold mist that enveloped

The camera and slowly progressed across the polished

Floor towards me when all turned white and I awoke

In an unfamiliar place in an unfamiliar time


The first thing to hit my senses was the heat of the

Room and secondly opening my eyes there she was

The beautiful creature in the photograph, posing

Nude in front of the very same camera. Virtually

Brand new now, its brass work shining brightly, its

Polished woodwork magnificent. I reached for my

iPhone to record the scene and there in my hand a slice

Of silicon, my phone didn’t exist any more and now it

Was getting dark and the man operating the camera

Lit a spill and gave life to a gas mantle


The model smiled at me, blew me a kiss and tossing the

Pearls in my direction skipped off set to dress and upon

Reappearing nestled her arm in mine and off we went

To Maxim’s. Why I never questioned any of this is still

A mystery and there is another mystery that persists to

This day at the Museum. Who sat the withered body in

Front of the camera and why in its grasp was there a

Long string of pearls?


© Joseph G Dawson
This version 04/07/2018




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