A Familiar Ambiguity

“This photograph occupied me for several days, not because of what was in it but because of what was not: a real sense of place or time.  Its ambiguity was somehow familiar.  The photograph resonated within me: after all, the blurring of figures and landscape, of general and specific, is exactly what typified our Levantine experience.” (Matalon, 122).

The water ripples on the sidewalk aesthetically demonstrate the chronology that we are accustomed to and that we enjoy.  It is the timeline we hope to construct within Matalon’s anti-chronological text.  I took this photograph wanting to capture this flow of time that Barthes characterizes as the “that has been” but to also depict this “familiar” “ambiguity” that Matalon describes when looking back at the Photograph of Jacqueline Kahanoff, Uncle Moise, and her Mother at the Banks of the Nile in Cairo.  The “familiar” “ambiguity” of a displaced family having no “real sense of place or time” due to their Levantine experience.

Looking at this photograph on a website depicts this “familiar” “ambiguity”.  It appears random; it is anti-chronological.  There is no context.  It is almost as if the photograph has been displaced from its context.  This displacement is the source of its conflicted identity, which rests in the paradox of the chronological water ripples and the anti-chronological post on a blog.  “The photograph resonated with me […]” (Matalon, 122).


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