I love photographs, those of my life, the Angel’s and those of others’ lives. To me a photo is pure magic – a snapshot in time.
I pour over them, and each tells a story. I believe the oldest I have is of my maternal great grandparents, taken in 1895. My beloved grandmother was born a year later. Judging by his moustache my great grandfather could have been Nietzsche’s younger brother. To look at the image of two people you have never met, long dead, yet without whom I wouldn’t be here. They had five children – four daughters, one son. Though why they bothered to have a boy is anyone’s guess. In the end he was just young fresh meat cannon fodder. As indeed was my grandparents’ eldest son, Karlheinz, AFTER the end of the second world war. Prisoner of war. Russia. Couldn’t stand it any longer. Tried to flee the camp to go home. Shot in the back. He was younger than the Angel is now. The Angel being 24.
Mustn’t get carried away with nostalgia – though I do. If I were allowed to save one thing after all living beings were removed from the house on fire I’d take my treasure trove of photos.
I have done it again. Long intro. What I meant to convey, and please do let me know your own examples: A snapshot in time without holding your camera to it. Yet engraved in your memory forever.
Last time it happened to me was about a week or so ago. Caught up in my usual far away dreamy world, crossing the road on foot and on autopilot, a car passing stopped. The sun was shining. The driver leaned out of his open side window – a young man in his mid twenties, long blond hair, and his trademark big smile: Mama, he beamed.
And that, having been taken by surprise, frame was a snapshot in time. A perfect moment in time. That moment’s “frame” has etched itself onto my visual memory in an almost shocking clarity. It’s there. Like a photograph (not taken).