With the Photographer Summary, Explanation



ICSE Class 10 English With the Photographer Summary and Lesson Explanation with difficult word meanings


With the Photographer – Are you looking for Summary and Explanation for ICSE Class 10 English Short Stories With the Photographer from Treasure Chest (A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories) book. Get notes, summary of the lesson followed by line by line explanation of the lesson along with the meanings of difficult words.


With the Photographer ICSE Class 10 English 

By Stephen Leacock


With the Photographer Introduction

The story ‘With the Photographer’ is taken from a literary collection by Stephen Leacock, titled ‘Behind the Beyond, and other Contribution to Human Knowledge’. The author wants to give his photo to his friends, as a means to remember him after his death. However, the purpose is defeated when the photographer alters the photo to make it look better but it results in being different from the author’s appearance. 


Theme of the Lesson

The story ‘With the Photographer’ conveys the theme of original self and distorted self. It also gives a message of acceptance and confidence. 

While the author is at the studio, waiting for his turn, he reads a few magazines which carry photos of models. This creates a sense of inferiority and perfectionism in the author. He also makes efforts to improvise his photo whereas initially, he just wanted a photo for his friends, as his memory. The harsh comments of the photographer awaken the author, he respects God’s creation and becomes confident of his appearance. 


With the Photographer Summary

The author, Stephen is forty years old at the time of this incidence. He wants to get a photograph of his, to be given to his friends, as a memory to remember him after his death. With this aim, he visits a photographer. The dull, stooping man asks the author to wait and he is kept waiting for an hour. He reads various magazines in the meantime. 

On being called, he is asked to sit on a stool. The photographer pulls a huge camera and gets inside it. He is not satisfied with what he sees and so he comes out and removes all the curtains with a rod, perhaps to get more light and air inside the room. 

He goes back into the machine and stays for sometime and the author thinks that perhaps he is praying to God to get a good photo.

He exits the machine with a serious expression and comments that the author’s face is wrong and it would be better if it were more chubby. The author gets hurt by such words, agrees with the man and adds that even the photographer’s face would look better if it were more chubby. He adds that many faces are such that they will look better if they are wider, larger and huge. The photographer goes on to hold the author’s face in his hands, as if to kiss him, he then twists it as far he can and says that the head is not appreciable. He goes inside the machine, asks the author to open the mouth and then to close it. Then he comments that the ears are bad too. He makes the author droop the ears, roll the eyes, bend the neck, squeeze the stomach, etc. to make the face fuller but is not satisfied. As the narrator is about to rise from the stool, a photo is clicked and the photographer says that he has barely managed to capture the right expressions on the author’s face. However, the author revolts by saying that it is his face as God has made and he is aware of its appearance not being attractive. However, he accepts it as it is. Now, as the man has clicked a photo, the author wants to have a look but is asked to return on Saturday because the photographer has to develop the negative and make a proof. On the designated day, the photographer shows him a proof of his photograph which does not resemble the author. On being asked, the photographer reveals that he has used his drawing calibre and a few techniques to improve the photo so that it looks better. The author is disheartened because all he wanted was a photo which looked like him. He says that the photograph was a masterpiece of the photographer’s skills and he must keep it to show to his family and friends. As for the author, it is a worthless thing. With this he leaves the studio, teary eyed. 


With the Photographer Summary in Hindi

इस घटना के समय लेखक स्टीफन चालीस वर्ष के थे। वह अपनी एक तस्वीर लेना चाहता है, जिसे वह अपने दोस्तों को दे सके, ताकि उसकी मृत्यु के बाद उसे याद किया जा सके। इसी उद्देश्य से वह एक फोटोग्राफर से मिलने जाता है। सुस्त, झुका हुआ आदमी लेखक से इंतजार करने के लिए कहता है और उसे एक घंटे तक इंतजार कराया जाता है। इस दौरान वह विभिन्न पत्रिकाएं पढ़ते हैं।

बुलाने पर उसे एक स्टूल पर बैठने को कहा जाता है. फोटोग्राफर एक बड़ा कैमरा खींचता है और उसके अंदर घुस जाता है। वह जो देखता है उससे संतुष्ट नहीं होता है और इसलिए वह बाहर आता है और एक छड़ी के साथ सभी पर्दे हटा देता है, शायद कमरे के अंदर अधिक रोशनी और हवा लाने के लिए।

वह मशीन में वापस जाता है और कुछ देर रुकता है और लेखक सोचता है कि शायद वह अच्छी फोटो लेने के लिए भगवान से प्रार्थना कर रहा है।

वह गंभीर भाव के साथ मशीन से बाहर निकलता है और टिप्पणी करता है कि लेखक का चेहरा गलत है और यह अधिक गोल-मटोल होता तो बेहतर होता। लेखक ऐसे शब्दों से आहत हो जाता है, उस आदमी से सहमत होता है और कहता है कि फोटोग्राफर का चेहरा भी अधिक गोल-मटोल होता तो बेहतर दिखता। वह आगे कहते हैं कि कई चेहरे ऐसे होते हैं जो चौड़े, बड़े और विशालकाय होंगे तो ज्यादा अच्छे लगेंगे। फ़ोटोग्राफ़र लेखक के चेहरे को अपने हाथों में पकड़ता है, मानो उसे चूम रहा हो, फिर वह जितना हो सके उसे घुमाता है और कहता है कि सिर प्रशंसनीय नहीं है। वह मशीन के अंदर जाता है, लेखक से मुंह खोलने और फिर बंद करने के लिए कहता है। फिर वह टिप्पणी करते हैं कि कान भी खराब हैं। वह चेहरे को भरा हुआ दिखाने के लिए लेखक से कान झुकाने, आंखें घुमाने, गर्दन झुकाने, पेट दबाने आदि के लिए कहता है, लेकिन संतुष्ट नहीं होता। जैसे ही वर्णनकर्ता स्टूल से उठने वाला होता है, एक तस्वीर खींची जाती है और फोटोग्राफर कहता है कि वह मुश्किल से लेखक के चेहरे पर सही भावों को कैद कर पाया है। हालाँकि, लेखक यह कहकर विद्रोह करता है कि यह उसका चेहरा है जैसा कि भगवान ने बनाया है और वह जानता है कि इसका स्वरूप आकर्षक नहीं है। हालाँकि, वह इसे वैसे ही स्वीकार करता है जैसे यह है। अब, चूँकि उस आदमी ने एक तस्वीर खींची है, लेखक उसे देखना चाहता है, लेकिन उसे शनिवार को लौटने के लिए कहा जाता है क्योंकि फोटोग्राफर को तस्वीर का नेगेटिव विकसित करना होता है और एक प्रमाण बनाना होता है। निर्देशित दिन पर, फोटोग्राफर उसे अपनी तस्वीर का एक प्रमाण दिखाता है जो लेखक के चेहरे से मिलता-जुलता नहीं है। पूछने पर, फोटोग्राफर ने बताया कि उसने फोटो को बेहतर बनाने के लिए अपनी ड्राइंग क्षमता और कुछ तकनीकों का उपयोग किया है ताकि यह बेहतर दिखे। लेखक निराश है क्योंकि वह केवल एक फोटो चाहता था जो उसके जैसी दिखे। उनका कहना है कि यह तस्वीर फोटोग्राफर के कौशल का उत्कृष्ट नमूना थी और उन्हें इसे अपने परिवार और दोस्तों को दिखाने के लिए रखना चाहिए। जहाँ तक लेखक की बात है तो यह एक बेकार चीज़ है। इसके साथ ही वह आंखों में आंसू लिए स्टूडियो से बाहर निकल जाते हैं।


With the Photographer Lesson Explanation

“I WANT my photograph taken,” I said. The photographer looked at me without enthusiasm. He was a drooping man in a gray suit, with the dim eye of a natural scientist. But there is no need to describe him. Everybody knows what a photographer is like.

“Sit there,” he said, “and wait.”


Word meanings:
Drooping: bending
natural scientist: A scientist who makes a study of object, phenomena or laws of nature

Explanation: The author went to a photographer to get his photograph. The photographer gave him a dry look. He was an old man, bent forward, wore a gray colour suit and had tired eyes like those of scientists. The author says that describing the photographer is not required because everyone knows how they look like. The photographer asked him to sit and wait for the photo to be clicked.

Passage: I waited an hour. I read the Ladies Companion for 1912, the Girls Magazine 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 opened the inner door.


Word meanings:
Unwarrantable: wrongful
breaking in: intruding
Pursuits: quests


Explanation: The author waited for an hour for getting photographed. In the meantime, he read various magazines. He realized that perhaps his face was not so attractive for the photographer to be enthusiastic to take its photo. Also, he felt that his appearance had interrupted the man’s privacy of performing scientific research. However, the photographer opened the door to call him, after an hour had passed. 


Passage: “Come in,” he said severely.
I went into the studio.
“Sit down,” said the photographer.
I sat down in a beam of sunlight filtered through a sheet of factory cotton hung against a frosted skylight.

Explanation: He had a serious expression as he asked the narrator to walk in. The narrator walked inside and was asked to sit. He sat, the room was full of sunlight and frosted skylight which passed through the cotton curtains as are hung in studios.

Passage: The photographer rolled a machine into the middle of the room and crawled into it from behind.

He was only in it a second, – just time enough for one look at me, – and then he was out again, tearing at the cotton sheet and the window panes with a hooked stick, apparently frantic for light and air.

Then he crawled back into the machine again and drew a little black cloth over himself. This time he was very quiet in there. I knew that he was praying and I kept still.


Word meanings:
Frantic: desperate

Explanation: The photographer brought the camera into the room and went inside it. He remained there for very less time and came out. He started removing the curtains with a hooked rod, perhaps allowing more light and air into the room. Then he again crawled inside the machine and covered himself with a black coloured cloth. He remained very quiet inside it, perhaps he was praying to get a good click and the narrator remained still all the time.

Passage: When the photographer came out at last, he looked very grave and shook his head.

“The face is quite wrong”, he said.
“I know,” I answered quietly; I have always known it.”

He sighed.

“I think,” he said, “the face would be better three-quarters full.”
“I’m sure it would,” I said enthusiastically, for I was glad to find that the man had such a human side to him. “So would yours. In fact,” I continued, “how many faces one sees that are apparently hard, narrow, limited, but the minute you get them three-quarters full they get wide, large, almost boundless in – –”

Word meanings:
Grave: serious
Apparently: seemingly

Explanation: Finally, when the photographer came out of the camera, he was serious and shook his head. He commented that the narrator’s face was quiet wrong. The narrator said with a deep sigh that he had always known that his face was not correct. The photographer said that it would have been better if it would be seventy five percent fuller. The narrator agreed and added that same was true for the photographer’s face too. He was being ironoical and added that there were many such faces that are hard, narrow, limited and when they were made fuller, they became broader, larger in size and seemed to be too vast.

Passage: But the photographer had ceased to listen. He came over and took my head in his hands and twisted it sideways. I thought he meant to kiss me, and I closed my eyes.

But I was wrong.

He twisted my face as far as it would go and then stood looking at it.

He sighed again.

“I don’t like the head,” he said.

Then he went back to the machine and took another look.

“Open the mouth a little,” he said.

I started to do so.

“Close it,” he added quickly.


Word meanings:
Ceased: stopped
Twisted: turned on and on


Explanation: However, the photographer did not listen to him. He held the narrator’s head in both the hands and twisted it sideways. The narrator thought that the man was about to kiss him (humour intended) and thus, he closed his eyes as a reaction. But he realized that he was wrong. The man twisted the face as much he could and looked at it. He took a deep breath and said that he disapproved of the head. He went inside the camera, took another look and asked the narrator to open his mouth. As the narrator started to do so, he told him to close it.


Passage: Then he looked again.

“The ears are bad,” he said; “droop them a little more. Thank you. Now the eyes. Roll them in under the lids. Put the hands on the knees, please, and turn the face just a little upward. Yes, that’s better. Now just expand the lungs! So! And hump the neck – that’s it – and just contract the waist – ha! – and twist the hip up toward the elbow – now! I still don’t quite like the face, it’s just a trifle too full, but – -”


Word meanings:
Droop: hang downwards
Hump: heave


Explanation: The photographer took another look at the author from inside the camera. Now he commented that the author’s ears were bad. He wanted them to be bent down. Then he asked him to roll the eyes under the eyelids, to keep the hands on the knees and to turn the face a little up. Now he found the face slightly better. Then he asked him to stretch out the lungs, to bend the neck forward and squeeze the stomach. He also asked the narrator to twist the hip towards his elbow. After all this, he still did not find the face appreciable because it was only slightly fuller. He was about to speak further but was interrupted by the author.


Passage: I swung myself round on the stool.

“Stop,” I said with emotion but, I think, with dignity. “This face is my face. It is not yours, it is mine. I’ve lived with it for forty years and I know its faults. I know it’s out of drawing. I know it wasn’t made for me, but it’s my face, the only one I have –” I was conscious of a break in my voice but I went on – “such as it is, I’ve learned to love it. And this is my mouth, not yours. These ears are mine, and if your machine is too narrow –” Here I started to rise from the seat.



Explanation: The author swung himself and stood from the stool. He asked the photographer to stop making fun of his face. He added that it was his face, he had lived with it for the past forty years and he knew about its disproportionate appearance. He knew that it was not perfect but it was his. He had accepted it with all the flaws that it had. He added that the mouth, the ears were his and if the camera was too narrow to fit his face in the photo … and he started to get up from the seat when the sound of a photo being clicked was heard.


Passage: The photographer had pulled a string. The photograph taken. I could see the machine still staggering from the shock.

“I think,” said the photographer, pursing his lips in a pleased smile, “that I caught the features just in a moment of animation.”

“So!,” I said bitingly, – “features, eh? You didn’t think I could animate them, I suppose? But let me see the picture.”

“Oh, there’s nothing to see yet,” he said, “I have to develop the negative first. Come back on Saturday and I’ll let you see a proof of it.”


Word meanings:
Staggering: shaking
Animation: expressions


Explanation: Just then a photograph was clicked and the author saw that the camera was imbalance, perhaps due to the shock caused by clicking a photo (humour intended). The photographer said with a pleasing smile that he thought that he had captured the author’s features just in time. The author repeated the word ‘features’ and said that perhaps the photographer had thought that he could not animate his looks. He wanted to have a look at teh photo. However, the photographer replied that there was nothing to be seen. He would develop the negative first. He asked the author to come on Saturday and then he could see a proof of the photo.


Passage: On Saturday I went back.

The photographer beckoned me in. I thought he seemed quieter and graver than before. I think, too, there was a certain pride in his manner.

He unfolded the proof of a large photograph, and we both looked at it in silence.

“Is it me?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said quietly, “it is you,” and we went on looking at it.

“The eyes,” I said hesitatingly, “don’t look very much like mine.”

“Oh, no,” he answered, “I’ve retouched them. They come out splendidly, don’t they?”

“Fine,” I said, “but surely my eyebrows are not like that?”

“No,” said the photographer, with a momentary glance at my face, “the eyebrows are removed. 


Word meanings:
Beckoned: called
Splendidly: nicely


Explanation: Then came Saturday and the author visited the studio. He was called in by the photographer. He seemed to be more quiet and more serious than before. He seemed to be proud of his skills. He opened the proof of a big sized photo and both of them looked at it. The author asked if it was his photo which shows that the photo had been altered to make it look better. The photographer replied that it was the author’s photo. The author, however found that the eyes looked different. The man replied that he had improvised them so that the photo looked better. The author also found the eyebrows to be different and the man replied that he had removed them.


Passage: We have a process now – the Delphide – for putting in new ones. You’ll notice here where we’ve applied it to carry the hair away from the brow. I don’t like the hair low on the skull.”

“Oh, you don’t, don’t you?” I said.

“No,” he went on, “I don’t care for it. I like to get the hair clear back to the superficies and make out a new brow line.”

“What about the mouth?” I said with a bitterness that was lost on the photographer; “is that mine?”

“It’s adjusted a little,” he said, “yours is too low. I found I couldn’t use it.”

“The ears, though,” I said, “strike me as a good likeness; they’re just like mine.”

“Yes,” said the photographer thoughtfully, “that’s so; but I can fix that all right in the print. We have a process now – the Sulphide – for removing the ears entirely. I’ll see if – –”


Word meanings:
Superfices: surface, outer face


Explanation: The photographer said that they used a technique called ‘Delphide process’ which could replace features. He had applied it to shift the hair away from the eyebrows because he did not like the hair line to be very low on the head. Now the author was infuriated and he repeated that he did not like and asked that did he not like. The photographer clarified that he liked the hairline to be up on the edge of the head and so, he had drawn new eyebrows. The author asked if the mouth in the photo was like his or if it too had been altered. The man replied that the mouth too had been adjusted. The author’s mouth was too low and couldn’t be used in the photo. The author said perhaps the ears were as he had and the man replied that they were as he had but he could alter them too. He went on to describe the Sulphide process by which the ears could be removed and he was then interrupted by the annoyed author.

Passage: “Listen!” I interrupted, drawing myself up and animating my features to their full extent and speaking with a withering scorn that should have blasted the man on the spot. “Listen! I came here for a photograph – a picture – something which (mad though it seems) would have looked like me. I wanted something that would depict my face as Heaven gave it to me, humble though the gift may have been. I wanted something that my friends might keep after my death, to reconcile them to my loss. It seems that I was mistaken. What I wanted is no longer done. Go on, then, with your brutal work. Take your negative, or whatever it is you call it, – dip it in sulphide, bromide, oxide, cowhide, – anything you like, – remove the eyes, correct the mouth,  adjust the face, restore the lips, reanimate the necktie and reconstruct the waistcoat. Coat it with an inch of gloss, shade it, emboss it, gild it, till even you acknowledge that it is finished. Then when you have done all that – keep it for yourself and your friends. They may value it. To me it is but a worthless bauble.”

I broke into tears and left.

Word meanings:
Withering: disapproving
Scorn: hatred
Depict: show
Reconcile: to come to terms with
Emboss: cause to burge up
Bauble: a thing of no value


Explanation: The annoyed author composed himself, changed his expressions and spoke with hatred to make the man realize his mistake. He said that he was there to get a photo of himself which would look like what his appearance was. It would display his face as God had given because he wanted it for his friends who would remember him after his death through his photograph. Perhaps he was mistaken because he did not get what he had wanted. He asked the man to continue his harsh work (of altering the faces in the photos), to take the negatives of the photos and dip them in any solutions, remove the features, replace them and make new photos as per his liking. He could make them shiny, fill colours of his choice, frame them till he felt that the photos were well done. Then he could keep those photos for himself and his friends to boast of his artistic calibre. Those people could perhaps admire such photos but for the author, such an altered photo was useless and held no worth. With this, he became emotional, started crying and left the studio.



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