"MARK TWAIN" ON PHOTOGRAPHS. -
We have just been reading over Sam Clement's [sic] last letter, and in the flowing instance he blunders on so much truth that we have a notion to countermand our order for him to communicate with us. Speaking of photographs he says they are all false, and fellingly remarks,
No photograph ever was good, yet, of anybody - hunger and thirst and utter wretchedness overtake the outlaw who invented it! It transforms into desperadoes the meekest of men; depicts sinless innocence upon the pictured faces of ruffians; gives the wise man the stupid leer of a fool, and a fool an expression of more than earthly wisdom. If a man tries to look serious when he sits for his picture the photograph makes him look as solemn as an owl; if he smiles, the photograph smirks repulsively; if he tries to look pleasant, the photograph looks silly; if he makes the fatal mistake of attempting to seem pensive, the camera will surely write him down as an ass. The sun never looks through the photographic instrument that it does not print a lie. The piece of glass it prints it on is well named a "negative" - a contradiction- a misrepresentation- a falsehood. I speak feeling of this matter, because by turns the instrument has represented me to be a lunatic, a Soloman, a missionary, a burglar and an abject idiot, and I am neither.
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