Incomplete seal

Behind the glass we’re looking through is a winter day so dark that we can barely see into the wheelhouse of the tug W. A. Rooth. The steersman is apparent with effort, however. We can make him out as he navigates his craft through its dusk or dawn, sucking a cigar as he concentrates on the passage. Through billowing smoke and steam, he is bringing the ship J. T. Hutchinson up through a lock toward the glass.

According to a record in the Library of Congress, the man in the windowed cabin passed under the light of this day in about 1903. Some time after that instant entered the record, the record’s glass backing was cracked from top to bottom. The dark and the smoke still remain on their side of the glass, however. On either side of the crack are reassuring traces of repair, and we who see past the mend see from a vantage securely reserved, short term, for sight and life. But of course what we see is coming toward us through a glass fully permeable to dark.

Source: “[Steamer] J. T. Hutchinson leaving Sault St[e.] Marie.” Detroit Publishing Company Collection, Library of Congress, Photoshopped.

Teaching aid: Wordsworth at night

Benjamin L. Singley, “Overlooking the Thames at 11 o’clock at Night, London, England.” 1903. Library of Congress,

My photoshopped anaglyph (requires red-and-blue stereo viewer):

This but also this

For she was a child, throwing bread to the ducks, between her parents, and at the same time a grown woman coming to her parents who stood by the lake, holding her life in her arms which, as she neared them, grew larger and larger in her arms, until it became a whole life, a complete life, which she put down by them and said, “This is what I have made of it! This!”



1. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925; New York: Harcourt, 2005) 42

2. Cornell University Press, 1990

3. Costică Acsinte Archive, Slobozia, Romania,, image ca_20150309_21. Photoshopped.


Estampe XXII: war information

Source: Fenno Jacobs, “Amusement Park,” part of a suite of photographs taken between May 23 and May 30, 1942, for the U.S. Office of War Information. The suite is collectively titled “Southington, Connecticut. An American town and its way of life.” Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information black and white negatives, Library of Congress, Photoshopped.