Photographs often appear in my novels and the characters wish their albums were not quite so ecstatic. They wonder why people often feel obliged to smile in the images. Why couldn’t there also be a bit of ennui, some frowns and slack jawed gazes? Surely that would be a more accurate archive. Even during a drizzly picnic when wasps are trying to get at the sandwiches and junior is exploring the texture of cow pats… people smile as the shutter clicks. Photos can show things as they were or record what we had hoped they would be like. They become part of our mysterious relationship with the past.
A relative of mine loves taking photographs. Sometimes he takes so many of them one begins to feel like a minor celebrity. Photos may occur during dinner or during tea on a sofa…while wandering through the countryside or waiting around beside a car. After a while one simply stops caring what his photos look like. Suddenly there isn’t any image to preserve. His images are often lovely because they do not have to be.
(Shared with very kind permission of RTE Lyric FM and with some edits.)
‘…..Grace Wynne-Jones has written an entertaining, intelligent and genuinely funny story….this is a great read, especially for commuters…guaranteed to shorten any journey.’ The Irish Times re. ‘The Truth Club’