The Siren Song of Self-Reference

OK, one more thing to write today: I say, once again, that the Library of Congress Flickr Stream is a brilliant and wonderful thing, a treasure to be cherished always. Thank you, Library of Congress, for posting such delightful images!

Just today, the LOC added a set called “Photographer In The Picture,” made up of a whole lot of nifty scenes that live up to the title. The images include everything from simple photographs of people with cameras to reflections of a photographer in a Stutz’s headlights. I was most struck, however, by the following three shots:

Geronimo -- detail showing photographer reflected in his eye (LOC)
Believe it or not, this is a closeup picture of the eye of Geronimo, in which the reflected image of the photographer is visible. There’s something powerful about it, captured eye capturing its captor, that I really love.
Then there’s this Indianapolis newsie, the sharpest thing in the photograph other than the photographer’s spreading shadow and the lamppost.
John Howell, an Indianapolis newsboy, makes $.75 some days. Begins at 6 a.m., Sundays. (Lives at 215 W. Michigan St.)  (LOC)
The boy’s head is turned and his eyes are squinting against the light from behind the photographer, and it makes him look a bit annoyed at being captured this way. He seems slightly out of time and space with the rest of the image, as if being photographed by that shadow has removed him, if only for that moment, from the world. Better put him back — he’s got papers to sell!
[Two photographers taking each others' picture with hand-held cameras while perched on a roof] (LOC)
This one, to me, looks for all the world like a sort of camera duel, as if they’ve just drawn and shot each other up there on that building ledge. If these two are duelling, though, what can we say about the photographer who shot them both?
I love me some LOC Flickr Stream.

About L. M. Bernhardt

Deaccessioned philosopher. Occasional Musician. Academic librarian, in original dust jacket. Working to keep my dogs in the lavish manner to which they have become accustomed.
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