Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Don't Know Much

During my former life as a guy who dispensed "knowledge", made grand pronouncements of worth, and assigned grades for photographs made by people attending Frostburg State University, one of the university's maintenance guys came into my office and asked me to look at a picture. He swore it was proof of a ghost he caught on film while taking a picture of his mother. He wondered if I might be able to tell him anything about the image. Could I explain how whatever had happened happened? Was this indeed a ghost? Is there something particular about photography that enabled him to capture the ghost on the film? I told him I didn't know and had a realization like this type of interaction often causes -the kind where I take stock of what I think I know in a few seconds, and realize that when it comes to most things, I don't know much. Being of no help and feeling like I was undeserving of such a large office and such prestige, I suggested that he look at a few different websites (such as this one) and that with a little research he could find a qualified someone who could help him decide what it was that he had photographed. With me, he could get a lecture on the finer points of what it is to live in a world regulated by the photograph, and tell him how to read a photograph by any number of artists spanning the history of photography- but I didn't know what to make of this fingered 4x6 print- I didn't have a clue how to read it, and what I could give him isn't what he wanted.

I took this picture of Kim during the Mother's Day Bacchanalia held at my folks' house this past Sunday (it was really a meat fest more than anything else). I swear that's the ghost of my Pop swirling around the living room- he's watching my Nana (knowing that before too long she'll join him in the ether), listening to the music, loving the laughing, admiring how pretty Kim is, stealing a rib here and there, and shaking his head at all of the recurring conversations about sickness and death.

I would have never realized this three years ago- back then I was much too smart.


Anonymous said...

did i ever show you my ghost photos? she's swirling around stephen (one of them is on my myspace)

a year or so later he saw her, absolutely corporeal, walk by the doorway while he was in the kitchen

and we also had some weird ectoplasm stuff that was showing up in the middle of the floor upstairs for awhile, but that's another story...(we should have photographed it)

Michael said...

I have a really neat book on paranormal photography of the turn of the century. I love the ectoplasm shots... Some friends gave it to me while they were shucking off unwanted X-mas presents. I think it's neat, but am culling my library in preparation for a move...
Want it?

Michael said...

Yeah, I'd love the book, thanks!
Did you see the show at MOMA this past year about spirit photography?
Another Michael