Not long ago I read the French author Patrick Modiano’s novella, After Image. It tells the story of a photographer in Paris who wanted to disappear. He kept his photos, in no particular order, in three suitcases, as he moved about constantly, disappearing for long periods of time—a mystery to all who knew him and perhaps himself. Was he his photographs? Was he carrying himself, wherever he went, in those suitcases?
Modiano is known for writing about memories and how they intrude upon and influence our lives. I too am a photographer, so After Image stirred my feelings and thoughts concerning photography—how it is always an act of creating memento mori—how it is always a conversation between record, perception and memory.
After Image evoked my memories of Paris and the French and caused me to reflect upon who I have become, who I think I was, where I am now and how I got here. What did and do my photographs say? Really? Who do they say that I am? What do they tell me I should pay attention to?
What do your photographs tell you about you?
© 2017 Michael Maurer Smith