The Tourist #35


“People are keen to photograph, for it is in the space of the photograph that they enjoy longed for family happiness. People gaze at the holiday image – and the imaginary family or friendship of their holiday gazes back.”

Given that all social reality as it is experienced by everyone is based on an illusion how does the photographic work in these precise coordinates?

I never saw a family holiday photograph other than my own when I was younger. We almost never took family photographs. This despite my father being “keen on photography”. We did not perform on the stage of the holiday maker. We made family photographs in the same brutal and awkward way that everyone seems to have, whose pictures I have since seen.
The more interesting thing is how often, with what extraordinary regularity, every photograph fails to show the family as happy or contented. It is far more telling how many failed family photos there are, how many mishaps, closed eyes, unhappy faces, tears… When we “gaze” at the family photograph what gazes back is the absolute failure of the family as a unit which anyone might reasonably expect to function as a happiness.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

(“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”)

(“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”)

Luke 14.26,27 and 33. ESV