Monday, February 04, 2008

Tick.Tick.Tick.

I came across this story online over the weekend and was completely fascinated by it...


Clues from an old snapshot solve drowning mystery



Of course as anyone who knows me well will attest, I have a weakness for vintage photography. My studio is filled with them and I use them frequently as inspiration for my art. The portraiture that I'm most associated with are all modeled after faces I choose from these treasures and I've recently begun to incorporate the photos into the works themselves.

That's one of the reasons that I was so taken with the story. The only clue to the identity of the mysterious dead man was an old photograph that "had been found intact in a glass frame and close to his heart under layers of winter clothing". I can see this man in my mind like scenes from a film....

It's a hot July afternoon. His room is spotless and sparsely furnished, more like that of an old whisper of a man rather than that of a young chap of 31. He sits, nude and alone, atop his meticulously made bed. In his hands, he holds a delicate glass frame which he uses to protect an old fading paper photograph. The sepia toned image is that of a mature distinguished looking suited man holding a very young boy in his arms.

All is silent in the room save the stolid ticking emanating from the belly of an antique mantle clock. He wondered for a moment just how many times had he stood in the same spot in his room just listening to the sound of that clock. Sometimes, he remembered, hours would pass by as he did this without anyone, anyone in the world, noticing.

The treasured clock was the only physical item still in existence, besides himself, that was once held in the hands of the older gentleman in the photograph - his beloved grandfather. How sweetly appropriate, he thinks for a moment, that the ever reliable ticking of that clock would be his final companion as he dresses himself for the last time.

Tick.
Tick.
Tick.
Tick.

Misty eyed, he presses the framed photograph gently over his heart. The glass of the frame is cooling against his hairless chest now dewy with a fine misting of sweat. He holds the photo in place with one hand as he somewhat clumsily pulls a tight fitting thermal long sleeve t-shirt over his head. It will be the first layer of many that he now covers himself with. Though he never enjoyed the feel of wool against his sensitive skin, he now needs the weight of the clothing, when wet, to keep him down in the water.

A faint smile creases across his mouth as he lifts the cumbersome backpack which he had filled with heavy stones over the weekend. These will be the only tools he needs to make the reunion complete.

Now fully dressed in his heavy winter clothes, he stares out the open window of his room which overlooks the old church auditorium for the last time. The breeze whisks across his face as his slowly lifts his finger in attention to a solitary drip of sweat, or perhaps a tear, that glistens from the corner of his eye as it runs down to the end of his dimpled chin like a silent undiscovered forest stream.

Tick.
Tick.
Tick.




Well, clearly I became carried away there, but, that's the wonderful beauty of vintage photography. There's always a story...







1 comment:

Nick Sprouse said...

Are those photographs from your collection? They're fantastic!