the invisible

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Going back
Going back. Pictures that go back, people that go back with their expressions, souls, who go back with their projections. These are my grandparents, for example. They are looking at me from a time before my time, after my time – their expression can be located somewhere in the interim between two worlds, and so can this picture. This expression-picture is witness to an aesthetic of appearance, and an aesthetic of disappearance (fading) and re-appearance. Reincarnation = re-iconisation. Indian souls that have been photographed, I think, I feel. And I go back to this picture. This picture is an allegory for the submergence of time, for the process of becoming invisible and by which pictures become invisible too. This picture makes you speechless. It is a picture from a series of pictures that make you speechless. This picture is a meta-picture. This picture is the odd one out in the series. This picture is a picture from the series of odd ones out and I quote: What we see looks at us! – Or it does not look at us but sees right through us to the finiteness of our existence so that we become transparent to ourselves in this picture, become transparent ourselves, perhaps as Heidegger once thought – except that he was not referring to private photographs. Rainer Totzke

A life without photography. A life that does not need an image or confirmation. Life with another kind of memory. This private photograph was taken for descendants, for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As a memento for future generations.
The expression and the posture of the old woman and old man seem to speak of another life. A life that was not glossed over but that was lived as best it could and as it was and perhaps just as simply – side by side, as the shoulders touch, as carefully as the collars and shirt sleeves end and as carefully as the rows of buttons and lines of zips run along their bodies.
The medium of photography, the short exposure, the creation of an image meets a counter-expression. The expression of two people who are silent. Silence is the picture. The direct gaze into the camera is the picture. Their untold story is the picture.
A photograph that does not conjure up a narrative. A photograph that is silent and evokes a strange stillness: Enduring life. With everything that comes and goes, decays, and nothing that cannot happen, in attitude, with folded hands, direct expression, serious, just like generations past – and none other after them. Birgit Szepanski

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