Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pictures of a Dead Man

My wife is a wedding photographer. She has a wonderful innate talent that's startling to behold, but difficult for her to explain. So far as she knows, she just takes pictures as the situation warrants and the opportunity presents.

I've always admired graphic design and photography. I took several classes toward this vocation back in the day, and have a fair idea of how it all works and what it takes. I lack ability though, having no gift in the realm. Like the quote from the movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: "At last I realized I had taste, and style; but not talent." I can tell my wife exactly what makes her pictures good, all the various contributing elements and how they combine to create the overall impression within the image itself.

At which point she shrugs, and goes back to taking pictures.

Not to sound cheesy, but it at least allows me to see the world through her eyes in a very literal way.

She shot a wedding about 4 weeks ago, and has just finished all the post production work (special effects, retouching, color proofing, etc.). 2 days before these were scheduled to go to the printer, she was informed by the mother of the bride that her son (obviously the brother of the bride) had committed suicide the weekend before.

They seem to be handling it well, though it certainly does have a large impact on their lives. He's had drug trouble in the past, and where he was in life did not allow him to see personal value through the veil of mistakes and guilt that was ever present on his mind. With people getting married around him, and happiness abounding in social association, this turned inward with the low esteem to the thought of "Who would ever want me?" This was left behind in his journals.

We did some final retouching, and not yet beknownst to the family (unless they're reading this) I spent another 2 1/2 hours after the fact finding the best pictures with him in them and doctoring the extraction to get the best composition. We didn't do a lot of individual portraiture of the attendees (only the bride and groom, I'm afraid) but he was in a few family pictures. Being digital, and only taking up a little bit of the space, he was not represented in sufficient resolution to be enlarged much. I did what I could, but even at 4"x6" it's still going to be obviously over-blown from what the level of detail should support.

But these are the last real pictures that were taken of him; human decency dictate that I use whatever means necessary to try and make the most of that for the family. It sounds small, and perhaps it is; they don't even know me, the few I've been introduced to probably wouldn't even remember my name. I can't give them anything more: I don't know them, don't know the deceased, and can't gauge the impact of any other gesture. I'm offering a slightly clearer memory from the immediate past of something highly prized and now gone. Does the thought count? Hopefully. I can scarcely fathom the void this has left for them.

With so many ambiguous and contextually sensitive pronouns in the last 2 paragraphs, it's apparent to me that the text isn't flowing. This means I should stop for now; this is appropriate, that it should be to linger at this stage of the thought. Abrupt, and unfinished, without satisfying resolution; but having done what I could.

If you happen to be a family member or know the deceased, unlikely though it is that anyone from such a small connected sphere should stumble across this, I mean no disrespect by bearing this in the open. No personally revealing information has been provided despite the potentially intimate tone. However, if you find this at all disquieting please contact me and I'll edit or remove this post from circulation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,
You nut. My former bro in law just killed himself too. It would be a very small world indeed if it was the same man. But perhaps it would be less sad. It was very nice of you to put together extra photos. It might be painful for family now, with the loss so recent, but it will be valued greatly. Good job.