about old photographs?

It's been a while. (crocodile?)

Well it has and I have nothing to say for myself, except, well, I'm back (for now).

And I finally have something to talk about.

In the midst of a surprise week that gave us quite literally cold feet and lots of cold showers, courtesy of our dear old april, of course, we have had quite the gloomy sky, with quite the gloomy saturday. A saturday well spent at home, then at the uncle's house.

Family visits only ever get more interesting when the big ole' box of chocolates photographs is pulled out of its attic, and all the mysteries of the 70s and 80s bared to the judging eyes of 2013. More or less. Rather less.

When a person leaves this earth, to the unknown eerie destination that is void, it seems like everything that person had ever done, all of the ambition, the struggle or even desire to reach a certain star (?), the accomplishments, and the love that had been given, goes astray. Becomes null. It is as though that person had never existed.

But the pictures, or photographs I should say, contradict that nullness. (please add that word to the dictionary, thank you very much.)

Lost in her frenzy of showing us the dresses she once (almost) designed with her tailor for the many parties that she used to attend, my aunt brought out an old album filled with images of her in all of these dresses. Stunning, I thought, especially since vintage seems to be so in. But then I was the only judge, so my judgment also meant that I thought that vintage was in too.

But within one flip of a page, between a dress and another, a silk bow and another, and a frozen image of herself dancing and another, a familiar face smiled at me from between the black and white and the sepia.

The face of someone, whose absence would have marked its second decade come the eighth day of the eighth month of 2013. A photograph, unseen, unacknowledged and unideolized by yours truly. Yet.

A photograph that indicated the possibility of the existence of many others, here and there, between plastic files, in paper envelopes, in strangers' households.

A photograph where somewhere, somehow, he is still alive, playing the flute awkwardly, lifting his niece on his shoulders and dancing with her. A photograph, stranger to me than the stranger in it.

Then I began to think about these bits and pieces of his life. The ones I don't know of, and the ones I never will know of. And just as Harry Potter set about to discover Voldermort's horcruxes, I wished I could set about to find them all, and to construct the tableau of his past. And then to meet him.

There is so much more to the photograph than the push of a button, on a device, and the level of success that generates satisfaction within the people (ahem, women) in it. There are happinesses (and many of their friends and enemies), frozen in time, like bits of someone's soul, stolen from them. So that when whatever remains in these souls escalates upwards, downwards, something willingly gets left behind, to speak to those it never had the chance to speak to.

I'm listening.

There, now I said it.

But I don't think I can hear a thing.

Glass in the Park - Alex Turner


Popular Posts