A PICTURE OF MY WIFE

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I have a picture of my wife that stands beyond all of the others I have of her. In it she sits looking back at me ready to be photographed even though she doesn’t want to be. Her knees are tucked to her stomach, her eyes smile and her head rests into her palm with borrowed patience. It is only her loose recline in an old arm chair that exposes the spontaneity of the moment. In truth nothing about the photograph should be remembered but it stirs in me visions of the future. I see it and I see reasons for courage and visions of a life I have not yet had. These are intimate thoughts.

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I have had access to a camera for as long as I have known her and this has meant something special to me. As an artist I have been trained to find, light, form, line, colour, textures and patterns in everything and there is a constant tension that builds in you to capture these revelations.  Even more so when the subject is one for which you have great affection-You see everything; every change, every nuance, every moment of watching becomes a moment of uneasiness and a rush of wonder. A camera can ease that tension.

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I took a photograph of her the first time I met her. I did not know it would be the first of many reactions to her. She has always stirred a tension in me for which I felt the need to respond-the lines of her body, the resting of her limbs, the map of her features-there has always been something to frame and capture; something to hold onto and to defend against slipping into anonymity.

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The more I know of her the easier it is to turn my lens towards her. Those still captures have been as much a part of my coming to know her as anything else. There has always seemed to be a moment for sequester. They mark time for me and give our relationship a history. So much can be lost from memory that pictures have a way of becoming proof; evidence ragging against the fragility of our lives and our relationships. Sometimes they remain as the only truth of a reality that was…sometimes they remain as the only evidence we touched and lived and breathed a moment outside of our present.

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I have come to believe that photography works best when it captures that tension of our mortality. Every photograph is a tragedy. Perhaps this is why a photograph can mean so much to a heart and one can stand out amongst thousands creating a moment that is both frozen and fluid; both of the past as it is of the future-both of possibility and ruin. Within every moment there is a collapse and a renewal. Within every experience there is the angst of loss and the rush of life.

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Perhaps this is why I have stolen pieces of her for myself…wherever possible taking evidence that I existed with her. Perhaps this has been my compromise; my valve for the tension of our mortality-to keep a picture of her with me and to remember her as a moment of history. It is a tremendous experience to love a woman; to know her vulnerabilities and to know the best in her-to feel the soft power of her life. 

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