Probably the work I most admired back in art school was “This photograph is my proof.” It’s about someone showing evidence that there was a moment that existed. And despite that moment being gone and things being different, for a moment in time, a woman did care for the subject.
Or at least that’s what the subject wants us to think. Because the evidence could be misleading, and perhaps that moment was misrepresented. Saying that, “This photograph is my proof… she did love me,” is just that: him saying that some girl loved him. That’s his interpretation, not hers, and perhaps not the viewers’. It talks about how photographs and their interpreters could very well lie. At least that’s the message I get under themes of longing, mourning, and insecurity.
This is not the first time I’ve written about “This photograph is my proof.” I think its message is easy to grasp because it’s quite universal. We’ve all held on to that one photo of proof of something that is no longer there. Heck, it’s the reason why Facebook is so popular. Half of their traffic is probably due to people pining over their exes.
Unfortunately, the more I think about it, a man holding and cherishing a photo as proof of love lost is probably something that doesn’t happen too often these days. Sure, images are now digitized and no one carries photos around aside from the ones stored in phones or accessible online. But because photos are non-physical, there is not much cherishing them. We can always view, download, delete, store, edit, and share pictures of our exes. The pictures we have hidden in a deep folder somewhere in our C drives are currently outdated by the ones they post online. And even if you cherish the old ones, have you seen what they have been up to lately on their timeline?!
If anything, the modern equivalent of “This photograph is my proof” is far more intimate, especially with the ease of taking photos these days. And if anything, these “proofs” are often used for more nefarious purposes. Nude photos of exes are the proof that things were good once.
You were happy. It did happen and she did love you. Look and see for yourselves, everyone.