Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction

‘Red Eye Reduction’ was originally published online by the University of Aberdeen’s Special Collections Centre as the winning entry of Book Week Scotland 2014.

Ashley had a long night ahead of her. Almost every guest in every photo had red eye. Shouldn’t have sent Scott to cover the wedding. Eyes like hyenas popping out from the dark. Delete. A line of smiling faces on the steps might as well be a string of fairy lights viewed through the condensation of a night bus window. Delete. He’s just not experienced enough.

But then how could she turn down the opportunity to shoot the Mayor? Not just the Mayor, but the Mayor on a zip-wire. Strapped to a Spice Girl. That’s front page Village Globe material.

The bride and groom have sadly fared worse than most of the guests. Four flying saucers hover in front of their foreheads, beaming happy souls out from eye sockets. Can’t just delete these ones though. They’ll never smile those wedding day smiles again.

It’s hardly Scott’s fault they chose to tie the knot in a cave. What’s wrong with churches? Great, the red eye reduction tool doesn’t even recognise these as eyes. Here comes Ashley’s long-standing friend – the chirpy paintbrush cartoon character who pops up in the corner of the screen. “It looks like you’re trying to edit a photograph!” Nope, just trying to flog a dead horse. Thanks for asking though.

2am and Ashley’s own eyes were starting to go. She could feel the bloodshot branches creeping across with each blink. Scott will be sleeping now, oblivious to tomorrow’s wrath. The bride and groom will be – okay possibly not sleeping yet, but – equally oblivious. Zoom in. Adjust brightness/contrast. Delete. “It looks like you’re trying to exit without saving! Do you want to save changes before exiting?” Don’t save. Delete.

This would not be the first time Ashley’s undoing had been ably assisted by Scott. There was that all-too-convenient typo on the Wedding Fair pull-up banner, where he’d described her as ‘ruining the show’ instead of ‘running the show’ in her mini-bio image caption. His hands had shot up in a claim of innocence, but there’s a whole row of keys separating ‘I’ from ‘N’.

If Ashley could just make good on one photograph before bed, she might be able to get some shut eye. They’re not going to pay a penny for these. At least the Mayor’s office has a decent budget.

A text message from the Mayor’s PA comes through. “Thx 4 2day. Cn’t use pix tho. Trns out Spic Grl ws impostr. Sry.” Oh brilliant. Perfect.

Zoom. Copy. Well then, Mr Bride-groom, looks like you’re going to be seeing the world through the Mayor’s eyes from now on. Do you take these porcine peepers? Paste. And to the blushing bride, do you take these looky-likey girl-group lashes? Copy. Paste. I now pronounce you Fake Spice.

Save over original? Save / Don’t Save / Cancel. “Hi, it looks like you’re trying to Force Quit! Are you sure you want to shut down?”