Friday, March 20, 2009

Raw Power

Yesterday's post of the photographer's self-portrait brought to mind one of more evocative images I own. It too is a real photo postcard, and shows a man with a very young child dressed in white on his knee. The expression on his face, which I read as pure shell-shocked grief, just begs the story. I imagine that his wife. the child's mother, has died, and now he faces a frightening future without her, the daunting prospect of being a father alone and poor. Note the patch on his pants at the knee. It's remarkable that he chose to have this portrait made. I think of it as a sort of post-post-mortem. The condition of the card, stained and stepped on, just amplifies the effect. I put it right up there with Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother portrait.


  1. Stunned is the right word. I've wondered if this was taken just after the funeral, his grief is so apparent.

  2. It makes me wonder what happened next, did he get to raise his child? Perhaps the child was taken away and this was shot so the father could remember it. Bad feeling all around, I'm sure it did not end well. There's at least a short story, if not a novel, brewing in there.