I heard your voice through a photograph – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Otherside

The first thing I did was take photographs of my newborn. I noticed that her grandparents did not take any. The first one, and there was only one, at King’s Cross St. Pancras station en route back to Paris. She was crawling at that point. The photos I sent of her received a cursory reply. So, I stopped sending them. And no, I have never been asked what happened to them.

I was there when my mother arrived unannounced at my sister’s.

“I’ve come to get the photos, to show people at the wedding,”

“You’ll have to find the ones you want and send them to yourself then,”

“I thought you’d gotten them ready?”


“Well, I don’t know how to do that,”

“Perhaps ask yourself why you have never taken any photographs of her? Why not take some right now?”

This got a walk out, not a slamming of the door, but leaving it lightly banging against the frame.

“There are no photographs of me in my 20s,” my sister later told me. “Hardly any when I was growing up,”

“And if there are, it’s because we took them,”

“Dad took some in the early years, he had one of those Nikon cameras,”

“There’s none of us in the house, have you noticed?”

“Yes and the albums, well, they’re rotting in the garage,”

“The cold and damp…”

“We’ll have to go over and rescue them, take them to a restorer. One of us can distract them because as soon as they know what we’re doing…”

What does it mean then not to take a photograph of your child? What does it say about the person not picking up the camera to do so? If a photograph steals the soul, what of the photograph that never was?