Signs as I crossed my heart. Eyes have held up the world. A dereliction of duty. They should have been watching you. As I do. Only seeing. Always open to seeing you. Through. Getting out of the way of the lens. Losing only the focus just a moment before the flash catches hold of you. And why do you look at me instead of the lens that designs an impression of something you might not yet be? Or do you see me as the lens that is too close to know your secrets, but too far to not be curious about who you might be?
An Igbo couple in Lagos, 1955, reads the caption. I still find myself in contemplation of the fact that once upon a time most lives lived were untold or rather undocumented. And it didn’t matter. Your world was a village. A town. Maybe the expanse of a city. And that’s all the world that might have known of you. The people you encountered. Perhaps they wouldn’t have a picture of you, so you would have only existed in the memories of people till they unremembered you. Cause you still existed in the memory. At least in real time, when you encountered and were accounted. So what can one do with images without a context? Maybe this is one of the chief reasons why fiction as a literary form is enduring and vital. These people caught in the lens of their lifetime could be any number of possibilities of character and story that is invented. It is probable, though I can’t prove it, that every human scenario has already been lived before so that even projections into vacant images to invent narratives are old tales retold in new clothes.