Photo: Elise Sigal with infant Erica Sigal

By | Wednesday, December 16, 2020 1 comment

Elise Sigal holds Erica Sigal 1959
Photo by Marlowe Sigal
(c) The Estate of Marlowe A. Sigal

My father was a hell of a photographer.

I found this photo among my father's things yesterday. Ever since I rescued it from a pile of papers, I have not been able to stop staring at it.

For one thing, I personally think it is a great photograph. The lighting, the depth of field that puts the main subject in focus with the rest of the image fading away. The pose of my mother looking away while my sister stares at the viewer. The texture of the image. I think it is a beautiful photo, and it gives me a certain pride that my father created it.

It also blows my mind that it has lain hidden for 61 years. I had never seen it before. My sister says she's never seen it. My mother vaguely recalls seeing it a long time ago.

And then there are the personal aspects. The woman in the photo is my mother too. That is approximately what she looked like when I was born 3 years later. And, of course, I never knew the infant in the picture. She was a toddler by the time I came along.

I am also deeply struck by the passage of time. Sixty years is forever. The photo might as well be from the 16th century, or 10,000 years ago on the Anatolian plain, or from a period before the evolution of homo-sapiens. I wasn't even born when my father took this photo. Who are these people? My mother and sister are still alive, but the people in this image are long, long gone.

And then there is my sister's face. I don't mean any insult, but you can see the chimpanzee in her face. And those eyes - huge black pupils. The way her tiny hand grabs my mothers sleeve, and the look on her face, make me think that she knows that this is not going to be easy. I see an uncertainty as to whether or not she wants to face what's coming; whether or not she believes that she will make it through it all.

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1 comment:

  1. That is a lovely picture! I hope you'll share some more of you as a little tyke!


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