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Matinee: 'Surprise Darkroom Engagement' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

18 February 2017

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 175th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Surprise Darkroom Engagement.

It takes just under four minutes for Paul Fehr to document his clever proposal to Ale Hernandez but you won't ever forget it.

It begins with Paul in the darkroom testing his plan. He has a negative of the three words of his marriage proposal: ¿Te casarías conmigo? Will you marry me?

He exposes that image on paper and then makes a second exposure with an image of the two of them that has a very light sky where the dark words appear. When he develops the print, you see the proposal.

"It worked!" he says.

On Dec. 29, 2016, he packed up his darkroom and drove three hours to the city of Parral in Chihuahua, Mexico. When he gets there, he'll pick up Ale and they'll celebrate their anniversary with a photo shoot, develop the film and print one of the images on paper pre-exposed with his proposal.

It takes just under four minutes for Paul Fehr to document his clever proposal to Ale Hernandez but you won't ever forget it.

That's his plan.

The suspense builds as he travels there, gets stuck in traffic and finally connects with Ale. We see them spend the day in the city, courtesy of an accomplice with a video camera who follows them into the darkroom where Ale develops the film.

They inspect the negatives and pick a frame to print. And they print it. Ale drops the paper into the developer, sees the message come up and breaks down, turning around in tears to find Paul on his knees.

We suspect she didn't say yes. But we're pretty sure she said, "Sí!"

When Friday comes around and we've published our slide show, we always look forward to putting our feet up on the desk and scrubbing through videos from over a dozen reliable sources for our Saturday matinee. We figure we'll learn something worth sharing.

Our search terms focus on the subject without being too restrictive. But that inevitably tends to include an awful lot of wedding videos. And we don't mind confessing that we often take a break from the curation of something worthwhile to celebrate someone else's romance.

With Valentine's Day earlier in the week, you might think we missed an opportunity last week to celebrate the occasion before it occurred.

But the odd thing about Valentine's Day is that every day is Valentine's Day if you're doing it right. So we don't mind at all celebrating it a few days later with this charming video.

The only thing we keep wondering about is just how you would do this kind of thing in broad daylight with a JPEG?

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