With the Photographer by Stephen Leacock Summary


The story “With the Photographer”, describes one of Leacock’s incident with a photographer in a studio, where he visits to have his photograph taken and is unintentionally humiliated by the photographer.

During the early times, there were no smartphones and other brand gadgets, so people were supposed to visit studio to be photographed. The story exposes the theme of Humiliation, Self-respect, Insecurity and Appearance that how a man, who just wanted to be photographed, had to face such humiliation and bear insult just because of his face.

No Enthusiasm

On seeing Leacock, the photographer did not show any sort of enthusiasm and asked him to sit and wait. Leacock says in his essay that “I waited an hour. I read the Ladies Companion for 1912, the girls Magazines for 1902, and the Infants Journal for 1888. I began to see that I had done an unwarrantable thing in breaking in on the privacy of this man’s scientific pursuits with a face like mine”

After an hour, the photographer asked the author to come in and sit down. The author sat down in a beam of sunlight filtered through a sheet of factory cotton hung against a frosted skylight.

After wasting a lot of time by crawling back into the machine again and again, drawing a black cloth over himself, tearing at the cotton sheet and the window panes with a hooked stick, the photographer came with a disappointed face and said that Leacock’s face was wrong.

Humiliating Moment

This was the most humiliating moment for the narrator because for a good picture, a happy face and a happy mood is required, which the photographer completely ruined by commenting on his face.

The photographer pointed out a number of faults by criticising and condemning his face, head, and ears by saying “I don’t like the head, “the ears are bad”, ”I don’t like the face”, ultimately making the author feel angry and he develops a sense of insecurity within himself. The photographer was a mysterious man, and instead of focusing on how to make the photo proper and elegant, he was searching for the faults on Leacock’s appearance.

Distorted Photo

The photo which the author finally received was completely different and distortion of his real face and figure. It did not look like author’s original photo. The photography was very poor and disappointing. The author’s eyebrows were removed, and his mouth was adjusted a little.

The photographer had no guilt of his mistake and instead he shamelessly said that he had used a process named the delphide for removing them. He had even removed the hair which were present on the author’s face.

Unable to control his aggression, the author uttered about his expectation that he came to receive a photograph exactly like him, how he actually looked in real but the photographer has completely destructed his appearance, just to show off his photography skills and his status.

The author asked the photographer to keep the art of photograph with himself, because for him, it was totally worthless and useless. By the end, the author left the studio with tears.