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Grateful 27

I have what borders on a mild phobia when it comes to having my photo taken. Fine if I’m wearing sunglasses and a hat – suitably disguised – but if I’m remotely recognisable, no way. Now, depending on which way you look at it, this could be indicative of a general unhappiness with how I look. It could allude to a deepseated belief that being photographed robs my soul of some light (and might explain also why I rarely photograph people). Or it could simply be that I’m contrary and if this is the most extreme example of my contariness, then live with it, people – you’re getting off lightly.

I find myself avoiding large events where photographers are present. If I am there and see an official photographer, I make sure to tell them that I’d rather my photo wasn’t taken. I joke that I’m in the witness protection programme and can’t risk being identified. Many photos taken of me at parties and events show my hand, outstretched in front of my face – like a celebrity fending off the paparatzi. Do I suffer from delusions of grandeur?

Many, many years ago, my cousin was visiting from the UK with some mates. At dinner at home, one of his friends asked who the girl  in the photo on the piano was. When my mother told them it was me, they all looked at me in disbelief. The photo did not match reality. Later, when I was in Anchorage and my passport expired, I needed a new photo. The photographer stood up on a chair and looked down on me, telling me to stick out my chin so that only one of them would show. I did and that photo, too, didn’t match reality.

That I am extremely critical of my appearance, there is little doubt. That I have an image of how I should look I can’t deny. But am I prepared to do something to manifest that image? No way. And I can’t for the life of me understand it. I want to get there. I know what I need to do to get there. But, no. Where is Freud when I need him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to photos of me, be they self-portraits or otherwise, I prefer black and white to colour. I can’t explain it – but I could have fun trying.

This week,  I am grateful that I am still fascinated by how I think and by what I do and by why I do it; that I have not lost my penchant for flights of fancy; and that some of the most interesting conversations I have are those I have with myself.

Note: For a reminder of what the Grateful series is about, check out Grateful 52

I don’t spend nearly enough time on rooftops

Venetian pavement 2009

A man walks up Krúdy Gyula utca carrying a pair of chopsticks… No joke. I was stting outside Fictiv enjoying a Saturday evening constitutional, and had his progress in full view. Eyes down, he would stop very so often and use the chopsticks to prise coins from the pavement joints. What a way to make a living. Two memories came to mind: one of this footpath in Venice and another of the start of the old Mary Tyler Moore show.  In stark contrast, she always walked with her head held high. Her view of the world was slightly different to most.

(C) Steve Fareham

Back when I was living in London, S&P came to visit. We were wandering around Piccadilly as S wanted to see the Piccadilly divers. I was convinced she was raving. I have a thing about statues, and couldn’t believe I’d missed something that obvious. I was sure she had the wrong address. But there they were. My problem? I’d never taken the time to look up.

While in Zagreb last year, I spent an amazing afternoon at the cemetery and took lots of carefully chosen photographs. And yet, just last week, when looking for photos, I came across one I don’t remember. I remember taking it, but I don’t remember seeing it.  I don’t remember it being so deep.

Looking at another of Kerényi Zoltán’s photo albums, perspective comes to mind, yet again. Taken from the rooftops of Budapest, they give a completely different focus to the city. I though I knew the city well, but there are some vantage points that I cannot place. I’ve probably passed them a hundred times but have never seen them from this particular angle. I don’t spend nearly enough time on rooftops.

As Ani Difranco said When I look down, I miss all the good stuff. When I look up I just trip over things. It’s all a matter of perspective.