Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Frames: a Portrait of 2 Black Men

AS I RETURNED TO WORK AFTER one of my final lunches with my co-worker, __i__, we discussed the notion of truth as it relates to the two different realms of media in which we practice: his, photography; mine, print.

"Photographers are the biggest liars there are," __i__ said as I turned on the wiper blades. The traffic light turned green. "No one wants to see the truth. No one wants to see the wrinkles and the scars. No one wants to see the zits. They want to see the make-up and the air-brushing and the digital editing. People want lies and we give 'em to 'em."

"Well, was there ever a time when photographs were viewed as truth?" I asked, stepping on the gas. "I mean, how does what you've said relate to Seeing is believing?"

"Well, no matter who takes the photograph, there's always a matter of perspective," he said. "If I take a picture of your face from beneath you, it can make you look more intimidating.

"Or let's say if I take my hand and point it at your face like this." He pointed his hand an inch away from my right cheek. "And let's say I shake my hand as if I'm chastising you, like this. If someone were to take a photograph of us in this car at this second, it could be used as evidence that we were arguing - say, as a motive for murder."

Why this particular gesture, I thought, of all?
"There's always more to a story than a photograph can present," he continued. "What happened in the 10 seconds before the photograph? What happened 10 seconds after? What is occurring just one foot outside of the frame?"

"That's really interesting," I said. "It's fascinating how so much credence in our culture has been placed on photography... and print - how much value we put on these media to document. To see a photograph of something or to see it in print automatically makes it seem more true.

"For instance, in a court of law, if I were to verbally testify that you stayed late after work on 4 different occasions in the past month, it would strengthen my testimony in the eyes of the average person if I possessed a document where I had recorded the dates and times. The funny thing is, it would strengthen the testimony regardless of when I had created the document - even if I had created it just hours before on a computer. The document doesn't make what I'm saying any more true, but we believe it to be more true.

"History is the prime example," I continued. "It is just as easy to write a lie as it is to write the truth."

"Ain't that the truth," he said.


A few minutes before the frame of this blog entry, I revealed a truth to __it_, my main lunch buddy at _o_____ _ed__ _ystems.

After 11 years of service, I pointed and committed a murder, of sorts. I handed in my letter of resignation.

I know it hurt a little for him to hear it, because it hurt a lot for me to say it. I'm going to miss these conversations, __i__. I'm going to miss the midday diversions from the trappings of cubicle life, the exploration of new lunch spots, the visits to the Apple store, the occasional Borders run, and most of all - yes, most of all, the fellowship.

And that's the truth, man. Thanks for all the years.


__i__ said...


T BAGGS said...