I remembered an odd feeling that once haunted me, whenever I took a photograph in the street. Now, we take photos all of the time: photos of ourselves; photos of each other; photos of sunrises and billboards; photos of cocktails of blackberry and gin; photos of plates of sweetbreads, or pork cheek or pineapple; photos of the dawn or midnight; photos of our nudity and clothing; photos of the blur of streetlights from the top deck of a bus, or a line of trees on the horizon seen from a moving train. Back then, photos were relatively rare, however, a minor discipline, an outsider art. While cameras were available to all, the idea of taking more than one photo a day, at least for most of us, was an odd idea. Who had the time to record each moment? And so, when I took a photo in the street, perhaps of an odd kind of door, or the patterns of decimated paint on a section of wood, I’d imagine someone approaching, tapping me on the shoulder, and asking in tones that were really quite severe: ‘What do you think you’ve seen?’ And I would be unable to answer, because the photo would be sealed in time, for later developing, or else it would appear on a minute screen without real definition. I often wonder what happened to this imagined interlocutor, whether he (because he is a he, surely?) still exists in someone else’s imagination, or whether he has passed into oblivion, exhausted, now, by his intemperate and censorious demands.
Posted on by Daniel Bennett in Fiction, writing
Published by Daniel Bennett
I'm a writer and poet. My first novel, All the Dogs, appeared in 2008, and was described by Niall Griffiths as 'a stirring debut, a compellingly written tract on the importance of finding a place on the earth.' My fiction has appeared in London Noir, Crimewave, Black Static and 3AM. I live in London, where, amongst other things, I teach Creative Writing for the Open University. https://absenceclub.com View all posts by Daniel Bennett