I have always been a lover of lost faces. Perhaps it can be attributed to early morning photography lessons with my dad as he tirelessly explained depth of field, aperture, and shutter speed on his old Petri – before running to (or the worst – chasing and honking at) the school bus. Then there were weekend flea market excursions with my mom, where we gathered frames, photographs, and oddities abandoned from other people’s lives to decorate our house. Or maybe it was the exploration of abandoned houses, a pastime my mom and I enjoyed sparingly, but that came to consume me once I got my driver’s license. Whatever the origins, the desire to rescue portraits of gone people has manifested itself within me.
Whilst making this new batch of Tintype journals and thinking about these lost souls, this passage from David Eaglemen's Sum, replayed over and over in my mind.
“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”
What about these faces, whose names have likely already been spoken for the last time – did they stave off that final death the moment they sat for the photographer? And what of that stillness, that stretched moment – the resulting grim countenance, presumably an inaccurate portrayal of gloom and doom that has come to mark the personalities of so many of this era.
In an effort to rescue these strange survivors, we’ve given them new names, a formal frame, and a cover of their own – your own – on a blank book. This strange assemblage, this mash-up of human history is ever-characteristic of the work we do at Peg and Awl and of course – ’tis the season – Happy Hallowe’en!
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