|Vancouver circa 1977
Yesterday was Rosemary's and my anniversary. It would have been our 54th but it was not to be.
What do I do to keep sane? For one, my two cats, Niño and Niña demand attention at all times. I am pleasantly distracted by these two sentient beings.
I thought until most recently that a sentient being was a human that walked. I was wrong as it seems that to be sentient you are defined as having feelings. I believe that my cats feel for me as much as I feel for them.
But there is another activity that I seek with troubled pleasure.
In our early marriage in 1968 Rosemary insisted, almost nagged me, to keep taking photographs of our first daughter Alexandra. As soon as Hilary was born I was commanded to take pictures of her, too. I rarely photographed Rosemary and there are few photographs of us together or of her alone. I regret now in not having taken more photographs of her and more of my style that would have displayed her wonderful body.
So I scour my negatives looking for pictures of Rosemary that I may have overlooked. This is pleasant as I am finding many.
What exactly is this pleasure? As a photographer, and one who has been one for so many years, I believe I look at photographs in a perhaps more obsessive and detailed way than most. I wrote here about the early form of photography in the 19th century were dead children were photographed for memorial posterity. So many children were either born dead or died while very young that their parents wanted to have some record of their brief existence.
When I look at photographs of Rosemary that I have taken in
the past, and especially in a distant past, I look at them as portraits of a
Rosemary that was alive. A memory of a person that was alive is still a memory.
For me the image as I scan it is more than just a memory. There is a glimpse
into her soul/spirit when I see them. And rare is to find a photograph of me in
the same batch of one of Rosemary as I have found today. But I did find one.
The colours are off as in our early years in Vancouver I experimented in as many ways as I could with photography. These are Kodak Ektachromes where I told the lab to process them as colour negatives.
I have joined these two photographs and for me since both of us were alive when the photographs were taken, there is for me a remnant of those two lives even now.
After all, I am alive. And as I wrote here when I look at these early photographs of Rosemary I find myself falling in love all over again. It is almost exhilerating. Oddly I found it almost flattering that an Argentine friend of mine who lives in Vancouver wrote a comment to this blog: