Saturday, September 19, 2009
The photographer must try to make people forget about him, sense things that are revealed in a fleeting moment, catch the instant when a person in a setting comes face to face with himself, and delicately slide the camera between the shirt and the skin. I never give instructions to the person in front of me; it is up to me to move around, and I often want to say: ‘I’m not here, just be yourself.’
I don't know who took this photo of my late friend Denise, but she's entirely here: "beyond time and place and condition" to quote Flannery O'Connor. "Face to face with [her]self" is another way to put it. The child is here. The adult is here. Vulnerability and expectation. Sweetness, melancholy, intelligence. Humor too. Just about everything I knew is in that face, even though it was taken when she was 21, in 1973, ten years before we first met at Rutgers. I'm trying to get my head around the fact that she'll have been gone one month this coming Tuesday. It still seems a shock to lay that down in text; a large part of me still refuses it. (Shouldn't there be a new email from her waiting in my inbox?) But going for a run first thing this morning felt significant. First run since her death. First run since my mother's death back in May. Who knew the body wanted to be in motion?