Friday, 11 December 2009

the lost kiss

this is what i obsess with in photography. the Glimpse. for one moment, i am there. i witness life, unknown, unnoticed. a Glimpse into the life of others, majestically indifferent of my existence. (oh, i know, i betray myself when i say 'majestically', only because i resist to give in to the thought of pure and absolute indifference. something in me dreads this abyss, and wants to hang onto an adverb which, somehow, still conceals the illusion of a possible humanity. yes, i am still weak, yes, i still lie to myself).


a foreign city. i was there for one day and one day only. i saw a bus station in front of a park covered with snow. young lovers were there, so beautiful under their winter coats. they kissed. there was a longing tearing through me like a knife, for what? i don't know. for the fullness of that reality, of that life? what was happening in front of me, no, that happening itself, beyond any need of a subject, was revelation.

that picture, now. already during the scanning i saw that i had failed. i had been one second too early? or too late? what difference does it still make? and yet it makes everything different.


she still has her face hidden in his hand, perhaps shy, perhaps smiling, one moment before he lifts up her face to him. surely wondering how his mouth tastes, if they kiss for the first time.
she has her face already hidden in his hand, her mouth still half open with desire, her cheeks red. or pale as the snow which has ceased falling for a while, allowing this clarity of the air suddenly on the verge of breaking around me like glass. i look at him, somehow awkwardly erected, a little clumsy and fearful, yet a bit proud too. a bit sad? as if not knowing yet, not fully grasping what has happened to him. his eyes look over her head into some sort of distance that already tells of frailty and loss, of regret, of the hundred million angels of the future marching in, with their golden trumpets and drums, already erasing them, erasing me, erasing that moment, that kiss.

that kiss lives only in me now. no photograph can return it to the flow of time. yet, i tell myself, even if i know it is silly and absurd, if there were to be some day a tribunal of time, or history, and if the question were to be asked, this question precisely, which could save mankind, the question about this kiss, i could still stand up, myself alone, testify to its revelation, advocating redemption. i would do that, even holding this mocking photograph in my hands, this failed photograph, even then i would have to right to defend this truth, myself alone in the world, because the energy of that moment, of the Glimpse, when i took the picture, unknown, unnoticed, still lives in me now. and i could say: i am thus. i am thus, forever.

this miracle, i don't understand it. to be the depository of such sacred truth, how is it possible that i still dare to move through my life, thoughtlessly, instead of fearing that each moment i might break into pieces and lose it. what would still remain, then. perhaps the two have long forgotten this kiss themselves. perhaps they are together right this moment, making love, that kiss one among countless others, not even special, not even that good… maybe that was their last kiss and they never saw each other again after that day… maybe she lives with someone else in a little house just around the corner from that bus stop, while he has travelled to Prague and is wandering tonight through strange little streets in an unfamiliar part of town, having lost his way, his footsteps echoing on the sidewalk as he looks for a lighted café and someone who can offer conversation, though he knows he won’t find anyone, it is too late, this part of the city is too dark…
and then the same absent look comes back into his eyes, and once again he startles, not knowing what has happened to him, and how the hundred million angels of the future are marching in, with their golden trumpets and drums, already erasing him, erasing that moment, that already unrecognizable memory of his own life, which suddenly seems not his any longer.


i imagine stories. countless stories. i hunger for these stories, as i hungered for the Glimpse, back then, when i failed at taking that picture. one can say there is something indecent in this hunger for something which doesn't belong to me and doesn't need my presence. i know that. why should i care. not everybody who thrives to know like this is an artist, but for sure every artist knows this hunger.

the poet says:

I wonder if I will pass him later,
weeping in the parking lot,
staring at the sky,
tears glittering in the sun.
You would look away,
but I want to know everything.

(James Owens)

yet this type of knowing, which is everything art builds upon, is also the sign of our defeat. the poet knows this also:

Knowledge is the last resort of nostalgia. It emerges in poetry after defeat and might confirm our misfortune, but its ambiguity – its fallacious promise – lies in maintaining our awareness of the situation in which we were defeated, and even of its future, from which we expected so much and which has vanished

(Yves Bonnefoy)

this failed photograph i hold in my hands is at once the sign of my victory and my defeat.

i know this, and it hurts to know.



  1. ah, so much to disagree with! lol

    i used to know someone who used to say to me, there's no what should be, there's only what is

    for me there's not much beyond that. it's about the quality of the senses. and then you die!

  2. nope, can't leave it alone. that bonnefoy nostalgia thing is really quite irritating! ; )

  3. blessed swiss :-P

    i also used to know someone who used to teach me all the time: 'there's no what should be, there's only what is' - yet that wisdom was lost on me, no surprise here :-)

  4. oh, but you should read it in the proper context, i happened to come across it today and it stayed with me, this is the proof :-P

    and go to the entire essay, it's worth it. yet i suppose you will still disagree, this kind of nostalgia is perhaps some continental thing :-P

  5. i think it's a basic function of what i do but...

    i'm reminded of that sepp herberger quote - the ball is round. the game is ninety minutes. all the rest is theory.

    the question is - are you playing? or just watching?

    so as i said on my blog recently, tho in a more specific context Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel!

    except it so isn't. there is only the game!

    as for nostalgia. i live in a country that drowns itself in nostalgia. one has to anaesthetise oneself against it or be physically sick. nostalgia is a state of absence, of being without knowledge, a false never never land, as useless as counting angels on pins. nostalgia's like the junk food of knowledge, an incorporeal big mac. yes, we may want it, we may even sympathise with it but deep down we know, absolutely know, that it should be approached with nothing but horror!

    not that i feel strongly about it or anything! lol

    i have to go to bed. i can't top that big mac line! lol

  6. but, i nearly forget, no 1 and no4, esp no 4!

  7. To capture these moments in silence makes them eternal.

    (Poet in ancient Greek = to make).

  8. Oh ...

    (to be continued)


    PS And I noticed in another place where you remarked about being shy or ashamed of expressing yourself in English, but you are a silly goose there, as your English is good enough for most university doctorate programs... my goodness, my Romanian should be so polished...
    (ha, ha ha ha, he laughed guiltily, blushing woefully at his own hopeless ignorance...)

  9. such harsh words, swiss!! I write to capture moments of nostalgia, or at least similar to nostalgia - you know those moments when the sun shimmers on the hills and it all of a sudden makes your heart ache. for me these are not fixed in time and space but moments of transcendence, like roxana's glimpse of the couple - you may have missed the kiss on camera (I love the voyeurism of this pic!) but the moment isn't lost, it exists outwith time.
    I didn't have moments like this for ages then one day last week I had so many of them that I thought perhaps I was close to death and my mind was preparing itself for the great leap into eternity. but no, I'm still here! lol

  10. "a Glimpse into the life of others, majestically indifferent of my existence"
    Methinks herr Schrodinger may have something to say about that ;-)

    I used to be very disturbed about that theory - you when you observe, you change the thing observed - when I learnt it in school (oh I knew that quantum physics only applies to sub-atmoic particles but imagine what a dishonest lying world it would be if everything you observed was transformed by your observation). there would be no "what is" for once. We also learnt similar things about historical methods in college

    But "what is" is an interesting concept. It never appears to stand the test of time, unless frozen in art, which by definition is subjective - how you interpret an event, even what you choose to interpret. Like a famous director once said "what is not in frame, does not exist". So, again another paradox, the subjective interpretation of the artist is in fact more "real"; than what actually was. In your case, of ocurse the art is a combination of picture and word (see how ironic is the human condition - that multimedia interface should be used to convey the thought of the pre-modern); but then even the picture by itself is enough. A kiss is just a kiss - this picture is an entire story; suggesting as you expressed beautiful, glimpes of past and visions of the future. Maybe without your words the audience would have been guided to different thoughts; maybe some would have thought platonic comforting of a distressed friend; some of the gratitude of the woman kissing his hand; but all those stories would have been essential elements of humanity.

    your words roxana, consistently match the violent intensity of your pictures. as someone once said, not bad for you n'th langauage.

    But I love your pictures here. they bring back memories of more intense winters...

  11. By force of self preservation, the academic (a moribund reflex worthy of expiation) in me speaks: Doisneau's famous photo of a couple stealing a kiss on a busy street in Paris (Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville) is reminiscent of another famous kiss - Eisenstaedt’s “V–J day in Times Square.”
    The latter photo, of a soldier spontaneously kissing an unsuspecting woman in celebration of the surrender of Japan in 1945, is renowned for its sheer candidness.
    Things are not always what they seem - not in Doisineau's case at any rate. A couple sued Doisineau for taking an unauthorized picture of that fateful kiss. This forced Doisineau to admit that the picture had been staged since he was able to provide details of the actors that were hired.

    Does the photo lose its magnetism now that we know it was posed? Is there really a such a difference between the candid and the staged. Does it not still come down to that micro-second when candidness and artifice blur?

  12. Aveuglant! ! !...;-)


    (Première impression ...)

  13. harsh words! they can only be harsh if you take the notion of nostalgia as the big mac seriously.
    which would be no good thing! lol

    but no, nostalgia is wrongness, a prettified state that can only be made so by sentimentality, it is the antithesis of knowledge, it denies reality. i've been doing quite the thinking about it and, although i can find the expression of nostalgia sympathetic at times, for myself i'm struggling to find a nostalgic bone in my body.

    exposed! lol

  14. I think nostalgia for what is lost (time or a person, a place or a kiss), for what falls away from us, is always with us and therefore 'is'. And isn't that absence also a spur to our creativity?

  15. oh c'mon everyone longs for the good ol days! as long as you don't mistake nostalgic memories for factual recollection it's perfectly healthy to indulge in it now and again, in fact it promotes psychological well-being. swiss, you're making me nostalgic for a big mac lol

  16. Such very very beautiful images and words to accompany. It is so right, and strange, that a photo records an instant, none before and not the one after. -Jayne

  17. fascinating how that one word "nostalgia" could so easily overwhelm all the other insights in the Bonnefoy quote, not to mention the rest of your post... sigh...

    so i won't add much except to provide this link to an article on Sophie Calle's Suite Venetienne, which upon reflection i thought is rather relevent to the concerns you, Roxana, have expressed above.

  18. Tears.

    My life, its absolute definition, purpose, reason - all of it, felt, battered against, loved with, within these words and images.


  19. Roxana, Hi

    Your photos and lines have generated a lot of comments, as usual. I must, as always, try to be honest. these pics didnt move me, nor the story of these 'lovers' you constructed. you say you don't care if what you construct is not the 'actual', these two people may in reality be together while you contemplate them. and yet, the most melancholic of outcomes seems to give you a 'creative' edge? as if the most mundane was not enough? perhaps the most mundane is the most difficult outcome?

    and when you speak about artistic 'knowing', which truth are you talking about? and what is truth? and then you say:

    "and if the question were to be asked, this question precisely, which could save mankind, the question about this kiss, i could still stand up, myself alone, testify to its revelation, advocating redemption".

    what redemption? for? when?
    and then you say:

    "this miracle, i don't understand it. to be the depository of such sacred truth, how is it possible that i still dare to move through my life, thoughtlessly, instead of fearing that each moment i might break into pieces and lose it. what would still remain, then".

    are you saying that this 'kiss' has got in some way revivified in you and has attained some artistic 'revelation'?

    through words or music or movies, artists must usually try to attain an ecstacy, what for eg, Herzog labels as ecstatic truth. surely you remember the scenes from Dostoevsky, numerous as they are, where only self annihilation leads to some 'understanding'. only a lack of self awareness. as the photographer, the conscious act of your clicking will never lead to that. that created act is very stilted.( this is a problem with photography) hence your 'redemption' and 'revelation' seem a bit extreme.

    i hope these comments are viewed by yourself as my own attempt to understand what you do here and i may be completely wrong, in which case i should be forgiven hastily. however, i thought i sh'd share what your lines evoked, not always back scratching!

  20. Qu'est-ce qu'il y a de plus important pour toi Roxana ? D'avoir loupé ta photographie, ce baiser, ou de te le représenter sans cesse...?...
    A mon avis, un simple miroir devrait pourtant faire l'affaire...! Pourquoi ? Parce que les miroirs, eux, ils réfléchissent ! Non non ! Ce n'est pas un simple jeu de mots ! La reflection de soi à travers l'autre est une sorte de quête identitaire... comme l'amour qu'on se porte à travers un autre... ou suis-je entrain de me tromper ! ! ! Certainement et sûrement ! Ce que nous faisons est sans cesse magnifié par l'idée de ce que nous avons ou aurions dû ou pû faire !...
    Il est beau ton baiser "aveuglé", qu'on ne voit pas mais qu'on peut aisément par tes mots facilement imaginer !
    Mais on peut tout imaginer Roxna...! Tu dis aimer les histoires...
    Et si ce garçon ne pensait qu'au moment où elle partirait alors qu'elle, donnait un baiser à sa propre et triste histoire !... La main de ce garçon est compatissante...! Que s'est-il passé avant et après ?... Un baiser ?...
    J'aime beaucoup tes histoires, tes mots, et tes photos... loupées !...;-)



  21. -I-
    Întâi a fost pe vreme rea,
    Era noros şi vânt bătea Era noros şi vânt batea
    Şi, desigur, ploua; Si, desigur, ploua;
    Cred c-ai aşteptat destul, Cred c-ai aşteptat destul,
    Ea va veni, ea va veni! Ea va Veni, veni ea va!

  22. c'est très bien de rater l'instant décisif, de le laisser échapper à l'appareil photo ... ainsi toi-même tu deviens souverainement responsable de sa survie.
    (& d'ailleurs, ce qu'il est touchant, tout ce temps indécisif, avant et après, lourd de prémonitions et de conséquences; et ce qu'il est émouvant et vrai, ton témoignage de l'instant perdu ...)

  23. .

    This is so far from failure
    This is right here on earth
    While failure is out there
    In the depths of black space
    Beyond a star named "Sirius"
    This is life
    This is love
    This is the observer
    Glimpsing the observed
    Reminisce on a glimpse
    Let it hurt
    All you wish
    Let it hurt
    But banish indifference
    Let it hurt
    But shun the abyss
    And cling
    Cling for all you are worth
    To the adverb
    Continue to lie to yourself
    Continue in weakness
    Yet I think you neither lie
    To anyone least of all yourself
    Nor are weak
    Far from weakness
    Weakness is out there
    Beyond Sirius with Failure
    For one senses
    The sure foot
    Of the tightrope walker
    Above the abyss
    Of indifference
    The tightrope walker
    The highwire artist
    Who crosses the canyon
    As though suspended
    On silver threads
    Who hovers in clouds
    Who treads softly
    In ballet slippers
    Across the depths
    A floating bridge
    Of dreams


  24. i love your soul...

    your eyes
    your heart

    nose.. and the lips.

    of course
    the glasses.. :p

    hi roxana,
    so now you enjoy
    much of the snow there.

    i am still with rain stangely.
    but from Wednesday
    it will get colder as well..
    it's coming!!

  25. It may be that Bonnefoy’s word “nostalgia” has been misappropriated here. I don’t think he (or this post!) means the sort of banal, hangdog moping that some of the comments seem to assume -- rather an active realization of the Heraclitean fire, the inscrutable flux of happening, and the observer’s skew, problematic relationship to it....


    Since this post is, at least in part, about the recursiveness of memory and art, I will allow myself to revisit a little poem that I have written about before:

    A necklace of green parrots drapes the banyan tree.
    He doesn’t see it; she doesn’t see it.

    (Sanskrit, ca. 1000 BCE, translator unknown)

    This photograph and your meditation on it (and your Post-Modern reflection on your meditation on it) invokes many of the same issues as this 3,000-year-old lyric. “He” and “she” are so absorbed in each other that they are oblivious to everything around them, including the beauty of the natural scene. But where is the poet in this reading, the observer and recorder who is able to note both the closed loop of the lovers’ attention and its setting under the branches of the banyan? Where is the photographer in the picture, she who sees the frozen trees (beautiful, fairytale branches) and sees the oblivious lovers who are not looking at the trees?

    Just as the lovers, in the poem and in the image, are perfectly symmetrical, enclosed in their single verse or picture and in their reciprocal gazes, in their mutual approach and response, there is also a violent asymmetry --- the artist gazes at the world, but the world does not gaze back. Driven by desire, lust, for the world, we nevertheless require distance from it … to represent the world, the scene, the lovers, this means -- always, inevitably, with heartbreak -- to be separate from them. Separation is pain, but it is a kind of pain that makes beauty possible. You capture this dilemma so perfectly. I am haunted, and I return. Of, course, you have made the return possible :-)


    “….the illusion of a possible humanity. yes, i am still weak, yes, i still lie to myself” --- Donn’t we all? :-) Art is an arena where we lie to ourselves about the possibility of not lying to ourselves….


  26. Saruta-mi ochii grei de planuri de atata,
    Doar sarutarea ta ar fi în stare
    Să stinga focul rău ce ia cuprins,
    Să-i umple de iubire si de soare.

    Saruta-mi fruntea, gândurile
    Saruta-mi fruntea, gandurile relevante
    Si toate indoielile să moara,
    In loc vor naste visurile mele În
    De viata noua de primavara.
    De viata noua de primavara.

  27. i do not understand why the kiss lives only in you now, as you say. why is it you who has to testify for it at the end of time, why is it your responsibility. i do not understand why the kiss is lost.

    the kiss lives in the woman and in the man, in who they have become after the kiss, in the paths they chose to step on after that moment. just by being, those persons and those steps will testify.

  28. ah, i am amazed with the many and passionate debates this post seems to have triggered - and also so different, the points of view which have been expressed! nostalgia, meaning of life, sensualism versus metaphysics, modern versus postmodern, memory, time, the role and purpose and limits of art, knowledge, physics versus literature and art, the subject-object relationship, love, loss, good old times, theory of the creative self, what is truth, what is real, voyeurism, the uncertainty principle, history of photography, staged photos versus documentary journalism, responsibility of the artist, pain, separation, return, the Gaze, essence and limits of photography, metaphysics of instant versus metaphysics of duration (Bergson's 'durée'), Sanskrit poems and Sophie Calle, not to forget the Big Mac - i mean, is there anything left one could still pile up on top of this list?! :-)

    this is to say: i am so grateful to all of you who commented here, who told me why they have been touched and why not - such an intriguing and challenging experience... i will try to address all the points though i know this is a futile attempt since i would need a 50 pages essay or a book to go through all this - but please have patience with me, these last days before the winter holidays are very busy and this makes me even slower than usual...

    meanwhile, we are buried in snow here, a snow storm erasing all thoughts :-)

  29. b, really, i will let you wonder, you who imagine Roxana as the only human being dwelling in the desert landscapes of Eastern Europe :-) that's quite an imagination, you know - or i have only my pictures to blame for that, though if i am not mistaken there is quite a number of "secret women" appearing there!

  30. err..I don't want to disappoint you my dear child, but I do not spend much time in the day imagining you in a desert landscape! Did you watch Lawrence of Arabia or something like it last night? What a bizarre thing to say!

    secret women! Thoba, thoba! Is there no end to this western decadence? In any case, can't you post links to the blogs of these secret women?

  31. Comme la vision de tout tes commentaires est juste et... quelle analyse ! Vraiment, il n'y a pas à dire... "The floating bridge of dreams est bien plus qu'un blog"...

  32. Jeff, voilà, c’est à toi que je réponds en tout premier lieu :-P

    je suis d’accord avec toi, le regard porté vers l’autre est en même temps un regard porté sur soi-même, d’ici l’interrogation de mon petit texte, qui porte moins sur les histoires imaginées des deux amants mais sur moi-même et sur ce que le moment, la mémoire, la photographie représentent pour moi... toi aussi tu poursuivis tes propres interrogations par l’intermédiaire de tes images, tes séries sur les portes, l’écorce des arbres, le voile des femmes, la lumière dans les feuilles – ce sont bien autant de visages de Jeff, n’est-ce pas ? :-)

    comme toujours, tu es plus que gentil avec moi – et tu as même poursuivi la réflexion sur le baiser par tes propres souvenirs, cela m’a bien touchée et je t’en remercie...

    bises :-)

  33. Sorlil, yes, i feel exactly like you, and those moments of "transcendence", you used that word, and i know we should have a better one but we don't - are exactly what i like to call the "glimpse" - and also the reason why i cannot live without photography. thank you for sharing this creative insight with us, it's very important!

    swiss, i totally agree: somebody who does the kind of work you do either thinks like you ("not much beyond that, and then you die") or becomes a buddhist monk who learns how to meditate on corpses.

    i also understand your dislike of nostalgic feelings in the sense you have used the term - don't forget that i come from a country who has faced a nostalgia for the "good old communist times" in the recent years, though not so much as in the former Democratic Republic, where they have even coined the word: Ostalgia (eastalgia).

    but Bonnefoy uses both "nostalgia" and "knowledge" in a very specific context (you really should take your time and read the essay, it's very interesting) - and it's funny because his take is also negative, though for different reasons: this knowledge he speaks of is that of transcendence, of a realm of harmony and truth beyond our reality, nostalgia being the constant yearning for that lost world of essences - so poetry becomes both the way to express this feeling of loss and yearning and a soothing place of refuge, what for him is nothing more than a chimerical attempt, acceptance of defeat. i think this is very true when we consider the legacy of Romanticism in our Western culture. because i believe that even if a form of nostalgia is specific to all cultural periods (let's remember the Renaissance and the Classics with their yearning for the lost ideals of Ancient Greece), it is the Romantic view that has shaped the modern consciousness: for the first time we have a subject torn between the extremes of longing (nostalgia for the lost unity between I and object and also the hope of regaining it through the poetical word) and the acute awareness of the failure, of the impossibility to achieve that scope within the realm of art. and the modern subject will never be free of this sense of loss, of brokenness...

    but in the end i think that our perspectives upon nostalgia and such "glimpses" are intimately related to whether we tend to be empiricists or - let's say "transcendentalists", used here in a very broad sense - but that is such a huge discussion...

  34. merc, yes, such a beautiful origin, so meaningful: to make... and then some Blue Angel visits the poet and becomes him, who could express this moment of grace which cannot be captured? and the mourning of Orpheus, is it not beyond language?

    dear Owen, you are so kind, trying to encourage me about my English - it's true that i have come to feel more comfortable with it, thanks to this blog and our dialogues here, but i have never properly studied English, and i haven't written in it before the Bridge - but now i am glad that i have decided to have this blog in English - though you and i, we could have met in French as well :-)
    and you've made me the gift of a poem, how sweet of you - i love this description:
    The sure foot
    Of the tightrope walker
    Above the abyss
    Of indifference
    The tightrope walker
    The highwire artist
    Who crosses the canyon
    As though suspended
    On silver threads
    Who hovers in clouds

    i might even recognize myself in it :-)

  35. I make things, people make me.

  36. Zuma, in the context that you bring into discussion, shouldn't Heisenberg be the one who has something to say? though Schroedinger would be even more interesting, then i would have faced another dilemma: the kiss which is and is not at the same time :-)

    i agree that "what is" is a problematic concept, and that is why the focus here was on the way i - as the observer - have seen, felt, imagined and ultimately distorted the scene, inevitably so. and yes, everybody could make her or his story about this picture, countless possible worlds, this is so fascinating about images - though it is the same, only less direct, with literature. i have nothing against when people tell me: i only look at your pictures, never read the texts - i even enjoy that :-)

    "but all those stories would have been essential elements of humanity." - this is the core of it. that is why such a moment is essential, not in itself, but through the symbolic values it acquires in the consciousness. thank you for pointing that out.

    more pictures of winter for you then, soon :-)

    (oh, and even a praise for my nth language, that knocked me down. no, out. no, off. i think it's off :-P)

  37. oh no, Prospero, has the magician finally agreed to reveal a secret about himself and the earth (with all its gardens of spell, reverie and pleasure) hasn't crumbled yet? :-P
    do tell me more about that moribund reflex worthy of expiation - what field? just tell me that (oh, but i know you won't, and yet i am confident that one day i will make that happen - how reasonable is that! :-)

    and you mention other aspects worth being taken into consideration, the frail limits between "real" and "fake" and what this might mean (or not) for our reading of the image - i have been asked before about similar points, regarding the portraits of my secret women... but between you and your flowers? is there a way to ask the same question and make it meaningful?

  38. billoo, this is incredible, i think that we have entered the Year of our agreement, now surely this must be a bad sign! :-P
    i totally agree with you. no, really, something is wrong.

    and also: in my modest opinion, it would be preferable for you to spend your time imagining Roxana in her desert plains than asking obvious questions like that about 'we' or the blogs of my secret women, if they are secret, then why would i reveal their links? :-P

  39. Jayne, this is the magic of photography, but also its curse - ah to be tortured by the loss of an image, all photographs know this feeling - it tears one apart.

  40. S., my dear one - i know you are here, with me, in every word and image.

  41. Robert!

    i am speechless - i don't understand?! how? how did you find those poems? :-) have you started to learn Romanian?
    do you know the song, also? if not, you can listen to it here:

    you, i wouldn't be surprised if you spoke Romanian in one year or so :-) if you put your mind to it - though i know you have so little time...

  42. "why would i reveal their links? :-P" scratch my back, I scratch...

    we have entered the Year, but so few days remain. And now, with such little time before us, would silence be a form of agreement or disagreement?

  43. as..coming to think of it, this post would be such amazing material to use in lectures of both existential philosophy and quantum physics...

    what a brillaint example of the Gaze. Especially your intense self-consciousness in analyzing the pictures, looking at yourself looking at that couple. This wouldn't have been possible without a camera in your hand at that time. if you just stared and walked away, totally immersed in the scene.

    And yes, heisenberg, but also schrondiger. their theories were not different, just different facets of quantum physics, as far as I vaguely remember. the black cat example just goes to show that it might not be there; and if you see it there, it could be only because you looked at it (and when you aren't looking at it, you don't know if its still there)...imagine it in the context of the kiss you saw, vis a vis the picture the rest are looking at...again just an example of change coming through observtion.

    and are you daring to make fun of your said n'th language, which is the language of the race who once ruled much of the world and the seven seas? (and also that of the hegemon of our times)??!! repent ingrate!

  44. Michael, indeed :-)
    but this only proves once again how powerful and challenging words can be in themselves, to quote again from that Hofmannsthal poem i love so much:
    Yet he says much who utters "evenings,"

    A word from which grave thought and sadness flow

    Like rich dark honey from the hollow combs.

    and endless our perspectives and readings...
    your suggestion involving Sophie Calle is another perfect example of how rich and surprising such a dialogue can be, i wouldn't have thought of that parallel myself. and yet now i see why you talk about resemblances and i see myself doing the same kind of thing, i am definitely the type. but there is something which separates us and that is why i think the end product would be totally different. it's the difference between modern (in my case) and post-modern (in her case) consciousness, vision, approach.

  45. Kubla, hi

    why so many precautions when criticizing? :-) i don't remember having ever asked for back scratching or shown discontent in the case of disagreement.

    i think, if i am allowed to propose ad hoc categories, that readers may be divided in roughly three groups (very flexible though): readers who always tend to seek in a work their own beliefs, sensitivity etc., and for whom such identification is the acme of aesthetic experience, they tend to like and favour only such works which allow this kind of 'Einfuehlung' - then readers who prefer new, unexpected visions which challenge and disrupt their owns and another category which balances between the two, being open to either way of reading, depending on mood etc. this is just a possible typology, which is by no means an axiological judgment. i myself tend to be the third type, while you, Kubla, if i am allowed to guess from your blog and what i have learned about you through our dialogue, tend to be the first type. there is a risk associated with each way of reading, i think. i remember the words of F. in Cohen's 'Beautiful Losers': "To discover the truth in anything that is alien, first dispense with the indispensable in your own vision".

    now, you have your firm beliefs of what art _must_ be and what photography _can_ or _cannot_ offer, relying on authors whose sensitivity is akin to yours (Dostoevski). but is there only one way of understanding art? if my own experience of photography and my ideas about it are different than your statement here, are you willing to accept that as a starting point and engage in a dialogue with a conception which contradicts yours? besides, there is no such thing as "photography" as such, only many different ways of understanding and practicing it, since my own views and feelings about it are very different, if not opposed, than those of, let's say, a conceptual photographer.

    so i think the main thing here is the one you summed up in this line: "these pics didnt move me, nor the story of these 'lovers' you constructed." it's really that simple, if you ask me: one is either moved by something and responds to it, or not. there is this aspect of ineffability, non-rationalizable response to aesthetic stimuli - and if two types of sensitivity don't meet, then the aesthetic encounter fails.

  46. i haven't finished, Kubla :-)

    now to address your more specific points, quickly: i don't think you have read my intentions well because my post is not a literary text, not a short story about "those lovers", but a few thoughts about myself, a kind of diary if you want, and my relation to time, memory, photography. i don't understand why you think i only chose the most melancholic outcome, since i have explicitly said there were countless stories possible, and i have also mentioned a few, which are very mundane (they are still together, for ex., and they have even forgotten that kiss). but even if i had chosen only the most melancholic, what would have been wrong with that? if that had been the feelings i had chosen to concentrate upon? it's funny you say this, you whose poems are the endless re-writing of the same melancholic, sadness infused mood, and this is part of their great charm?

    the only truth i talked about was that of my own feelings about the moment i had witnessed, a moment which has become important to me for no other reasons (it might be the most mundane indeed, unnoticed by anyone else) than what i felt at that time, the symbolic value i bestowed upon it. it's just one example among other such moments which are important to me, because it is then that life suddenly, and against all odds, seems not only bearable, but full of grace.

    i like to use the word Glimpse but actually i borrowed it from Katherine Mansfield and she describes this much better than me, i had posted about it a while back but i don't think you had already come on the Bridge at that time, please take a look here and i think you will understand better. it is a very important text for me:

    now i have written so much, which is only the proof how fertile your questions and arguments have been, i am - as always - most grateful for the intensity, directness and honesty of your approach. after so many words, i am longing for the snow's cold silence, though i know you like rain, dark rain, much more :-)

  47. ffflaneur, ma tres chere, tu es ou? je ne veux pas repeter des verites que tu connais (a quel point tu me manques, par exemple) - je vais simplement dire que je suis tres reconnaissante pour ce petit mot que tu as laisse ici pendant ton absence (ou malgre ton absence) - et pour cette phrase:
    "ainsi toi-même tu deviens souverainement responsable de sa survie."

    qui montre que tu as compris si bien mes sentiments qui ont deconcerte beaucoup d'autres lecteurs...
    je t'embrasse...

  48. Peter, a little lovely luminous love letter, wow! :-P
    i think that my "lost kiss" must have awaken romantic memories in you, now that would explain everything - do you still remember the name of your first love? :-)

  49. Manuela, but how many kisses get lost during a life? kisses which are not remembered, which haven't meant anything, which are regretted, which are hated afterwards... i don't think that it (or any other lived moment) survives only through the pure survival of the person(s) involved, that only their "being" in the world is enough to testify. i am too much of a Proust lover here, i think that only memory, the awareness of what has ceased to be, the conscious assignment of symbolic value, of meaning, to what otherwise would be lost in the amorphous, viscous mass of the past is able to preserve and, eventually, 'testify'.

  50. James... yes, i know you understand all this, perhaps better than me, after all it is a feeling i have often come across in your poems (and the proof is right here! :-)

    though i hadn't thought about the connection you made, with the wonderful Sanskrit poem, one of the first posts i had read on your blog, when i had just met you (it seems so long ago :-)... i love this notion of "violent asymmetry", it fits the photographic situation so perfectly - but also so many other situations in life, when we find ourselves left aside, isolated, torn apart from our desires and projections...

    but when you look at my pictures, they look back at you, and they become different, new even to myself :-)

    and i will never be able to thank you enough for that...

  51. Zuma, exactly, i had already started to fantasize myself about the new interpretation offered by the Schroedinger-analogy :-)

    and now you open yet another field of interrogation: the way having a camera in the hand changes the way one relates to the world. so much truth in here. though for a photographer it doesn't even matter so much, after a while, if the camera is truly present (however if it is not and they miss a perfect image, they are on the verge of suicide, crazy people :-) - what i want to say is that the gaze in itself is so much transformed, _as if_ one is always in a photographic situation. one just looks at the world that way (which may be bothersome for some people, but a way of being for photographers). one becomes that type of gaze...

    ps. no repent! and don't get me started on that, i don't want to lose my anglo-saxon readers :-P