“The Captured Woman” — Donald Barthelme

“The Captured Woman” by Donald Barthelme

The captured woman asks if I will take her picture.

I shoot four rolls of 35 mm. and then go off very happily to the darkroom. . .

I bring back the contacts and we go over them together. She circles half a dozen with a grease pencil — pictures of herself staring. She does not circle pictures of herself smiling, although there are several very good ones. When I bring her back prints (still wet) she says they are not big enough.

“Not big enough?”

“Can you make enlargements?”

“How big?”

“How big can you make them?”

“The largest paper I have is twenty-four by thirty-six.”


The very large prints are hung around her room with pushpins.

“Make more.”

“For what?”

“I want them in the other rooms too.”

“The staring ones?”

“Whichever ones you wish.”

I make more prints using the smiling negatives. (I also shoot another half dozen rolls.)

Soon the house is full of her portraits, she is everywhere.

(Read the rest).

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