From This Side Of Death, Deadness Is More FinalSaturday, May 16, 2009
Rosemary says we should be brutal in our family picture filing.
consider the two pictures here. The negatives plus many other pictures I took on the same day are all in negative sleeves. A couple of them from this date (sometime in 1971 in Arboledas, Estado de Mexico) are in our family album. We have three family albums. One incorporates the old pictures of my family beginning around 1878, Rosemary’s picture of her family and then the pictures of us together wich span from the beggining of our relationship to our marriage, Mexico and our drive to Vancouver. There the album stops. Ale, our oldest daughter has an album as well as Hilary and both of theirs also finish in Vancouver. From that point on we live in shoe boxes and a few, the really good ones in pewter frames on our piano or framed on the wall. But the negatives and slides are all carefully filed under years in my multiple metal cabinet filing system.
Rosemary says we should pick one or two of a session and throw the rest away. I am not sure she is right. On the other hand there is a tintype of some late/middle 19th century relatives of Rosemary. She has no idea who they are. At that point we could throw it away (except for the intrinsic value of the original tintype it is). I feel that after about 100 years (and that span is getting compressed) most of us lose sight and memory of old pictures. In a not too far future, pictures in CDs might not be viewable and even if they are who will know who the people in them are?
Is it worth filing family pictures as Rosemary and I are? When we both go will our daughters chuck them into the Straight of Georgia or burn them in a fireplace? Does it matter?
As it stands here are two that I placed in our album long ago and even then I was undecided which one was the better one so I put both in. I cringe at the idea that we wore his and her identical shirts. I remember that we both wore white jeans and had some white leather high top shoes with a rubber sole that was about four inches thick. I also remember that I was the one who helped Rosemary pluck her eyebrows!
The “art work” behind I made out of lacquered wood mounted on clear Lucite. The colours were white; the bottom bar was orange and the vertical one red. I used very expensive car lacquer and I sprayed it on with a little hinged double-tube mechanism that I used to fix the pastels I made many years before when I painted and had yet to buy a camera. It was my 1970 attempt at modern art.
It is sobering to understand that my archivaly processed prints from which I scanned the images you see here will, if they survive a dunking in the Straight of Georgia or a fire, will perhaps be seen by a descendant who will stare at us, not know who we are and just throw them out. Just like perfect cannot be made more perfect, our deadness will not be more so. But from this side of death it seems even much more final.