On being a question away

[A response to Brad Frederiksen]

I wrote, Brad, something of an answer to your question how cool would it be if you clicked on an image and it flipped to reveal the history behind it?, which I know wasn’t exactly directed at me, or anybody else really, something further about the photos that have hung on the walls of my grandmother’s house and continue to hang there, now, as I write this. One of the photos is a portrait of my grandmother’s grandparents on their wedding day. The man (I don’t know his name) is dressed in a stiff black tuxedo and is seated while his new wife (I don’t know her name) stands in a frilled, long-sleeve dress beside him. They wear serious expressions and gaze at something to the side of the camera’s lens. The man’s tuxedo is a harsh, funereal black dark as his moustache, dark as his hair. Their cheeks are rosy. I have memories of the flowers in the photograph – in his lapel, on the table to his side, incorporated, maybe, into her outfit – being coloured at the tips, but this may be incorrect. Though they are a part of my family and this photo has always been in my life and their history and my connection to their history is just a question away, I have no connection with them. The photo is hand-coloured and the colour has faded so that what is left makes them, or him at least, and I hate to say it, look like a ventriloquist’s dummy. The setting is indoor and staged, made neutral, and so they don’t look like they are even in Australia. Anyway, this isn’t what I was going to write but I’m OK with that because what I was going to write about I decided, for reasons of decency, maybe, or because this isn’t the forum, not to write about anyway.

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