PHOTOGRAPHY | PROJECT
Transition, timelessness, tainted thoughts
If I would know with overexposed certainty what triggered it, I would not be writing this. You would be reading something less honest, I guess, like an impeded yet immodest interpretation of intentions, filled to the brim with nursery rhymes and crypto-references, but it would not be this here confession. Don’t worry: this doesn’t mean I don’t trust you! It simply means I love my process more than my audience…
For an audience may ruin the moment. Bystander bragging rights are never enough: an audience is as restless and ruffled as a leafy wall! Fortunately, it is also as impressionable as a bluish film negative… And I’m using these two comparative anchors with the remorse attached to any tantrum of voluntary amnesia: could any of them…? Did they?
Yet it could have been Bernhard Schlink. Then again, maybe Stephen Daldry or David Hare … Nah, it ought to have been a woman! Hanna Schmitz? The culprit might be, in fact, the gaze of Kate Winslet, but that would be almost impossible for me to admit! How could a thespian – any thespian! – spike my aforementioned process in such a deterministic way???
That’s the wrong question, I know that much … What I should be asking myself is how close to my volition can I afford to keep my memory – that Faberge-grade dark horse the enmity of which would cost any of us not only the daily profits of social intercourse, but also the satisfaction of any purposeful pursuit… Not that being in its favour did anyone any favours: the “gift” of any recollection is to be forcibly paid for in either empathy or spite – both so taxing on one’s sanity!
Speaking of empathy, Hanna had in her cell a wall lined with sheets of paper which helped her battle the tragedy of illiteracy. Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes) read, recorded and sent her the tapes that helped her make sense of a revolving reality. She listened intently. She really did. Chekhov. “The Lady with the Dog”. She read. Time, providentially, skipped a few beats. She thought, I hope, she should try and… Time, alas, is sometimes a walking stick for impotent empathy. In the end, “the dead are still dead”.
Speaking of sanity, June afternoons are prone to toy with that, especially when one insists to freeze-frame a happenstance. In hindsight, it was all computable, and permutations were to be picked up at one’s leisure from the rather banal spice-rack those very happenstances put together. Nonetheless, right then and there, it was (and still is) all just ductile sparks.
But she did learn to read! Cushioned by the awareness that safeguards the other side of the real, you also learned an adjacent truth, encrypted in the new idiom that seemed to flood her eyes and to correct the weight of her footsteps: it’s all about the passion play in which minutes blow minutes into the smoky navy blue shards ingested by the crude light that got cured once exposed to those vertigos poised to test your/my identity, as it was almost coherently written on those pages percolating through the wall, wailing in canon, conducted by dolce far niente seconds morphing into atoms unspooled by my spinning eyes Xeroxing the tempo of the trebling wooden floors that reverberate in sync with the innuendos and the photon instigations and the pestilence of patchoulis emanating from such potent soul pressure-cookers that can compel seconds to become clicks, clicks to become life lines and dream lines and guidelines for the self-induced dizziness which took over when I inserted that first film roll into the self-possessed camera – the one that holds the anytime promise of a seducing black and white contrast brewed to the perfection meant to muster within its boiling point of no return the brawn to coerce minutes to blow up minutes into smoky navy blue shards. By the time the second film roll penetrates the camera, those shards cut open my life lines, my dream lines, my guidelines for polychromatic awareness. I am adrift. I am lost in…
Speaking of spite, such synchronic spellworkings are so scarce that they scare my soul into submission! They breed in me rancour for the process, reveries for the wooziness and, yes, recoils from reality. I don’t even know what kind of film beats in my Bronica! Not anymore… not while my breath is still in sync with the shutter clicks that will dictate the geometry of my memories once the anamnesis will decimate the tactile details! It will be days before I will discover the bloodlines of those smoky navy blue shards that tattooed my negatives, crashing the empty space, the safe space, the spiteful space of nevermore created between my camera and those Amber Eyes.
Coda: “How wrong can you be…?” (The Reader, 2008)