Pictures that are not there

Many times, Perec describes photos of himself and family members in great detail. For example, on page 49 he describes “I am in my mother’s arms. Our temples touch. My mother’s hair is dark, brushed up at the front and fallen curls over the nape of her neck.” I think describing a photograph is an art in itself, because it gives the writer the ability to influence how the reader “views” the photograph. The author can manipulate the description to emphasize certain aspects to he photo. Here, I will try to do just that.

This photo was taken in 2000 on the first day of second grade by my 2nd grade teacher Ms. K. My mother has her knees bent to bring herself down to my eye level, and she is holding me in front her as we both smile. She looks exactly as she looks now, safe a few gray hairs, that she actually likes because they are “distinguished”, but I look exceptionally different. I am wearing a blue polo shirt with the yellow symbol of my school, and khaki shorts. I had on new balance sneakers and white socks. My face depicts complete innocence and malleability. I sport a day old haircut with a classic left hand side part. I am smiling with sincere happiness due to the excitement for the new school year. My mother is also genuinely happy because I am happy.

I kept this photo above my home desk from the time I it was developed until I left for college. All throughout my grade school and high-school years I looked to that photo whenever I was feeling down or overwhelmed. The genuine happiness in our faces reminded me of a simpler time and place, and allows me to smile, sincerely, ever time I see it.


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