Yesterday, I attended a classmate’s unexpected funeral as we had been friends since high school. It was a sudden heart attack. No selfies were taken, only grief, and shared tears.
He was also a great supporter of my work and will be deeply missed, as have many teachers, family, colleagues and friends who have died very young from AIDS over my career and family members who generationally are all gone now. I have never taken a selfie because I cannot afford or own a smart phone. Some people would say I am very dumb because of this.
But I remember Susan Sontag’s great essays in her book ON PHOTOGRAPHY. I grew up with a haunting photo of my Mother’s Father who came to America from Italy whom I never met.
He died 11 years before I was born. His youngest child my Uncle died of lieukemia at about age 10. My Father lost his Father when he was 10 years old. There was memory but also silence.
My Italian side of my Family made annual and semi-seasonal trips to their grave to place flowers, wreaths or pray.
The Irish side of my Family never went.
My Grandmother died and later my parents were buried there in Queens as well. No one took a selfie as they did not yet exist.
There was a noble history in photography that we have now downgraded into self (ishness), self-promotion
and a web driven swamp.
We all think we are immortal…
All we really have is today.