Light Death

Matalon speaks frequently about death and the connection between death and beauty. Specifically she links light and death, alluding to the photographic process while also hinting at a metaphysical connection between the two. I realized that even as I walk around, feeling very alive, there are parts of me that are dead and that can also be beautiful (hair, fingernails). As strange as that may seem, I wanted to attempt to capture something dead but beautiful, (without being morbid or inappropriate, of course). I took this photo thinking about the passage which Augustin reads to Madame from the New Testament: “’Speak ye in light, speak ye in light.’ There was something about death, that one had only to fear the death of the soul but not of the body,…” (206). Matalon alludes to the Christian paradox of life that comes through death—that true life is, in fact, possible only through the death of the body or the self. Jesus is speaking about the death of death and the necessity of death to self. This is a really interesting way to think about photography and Barthes and Matalon and the anxiety over a person’s death who has been photographed. Is it possible that only their mask has died—that perhaps the shell has been lifted and the soul has been released? That in fact, through their photographic death, the capturing of their light and their pose and their body, a part of their soul has been set free.

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