Saturday, 20 April 2013
The Terrifying Truth of the Passage of Time
Two worlds separate these two images. In the lower one a group of friends, symmetrically disposed by gender, say goodbye to Patrick Coyle, tenderly held by a loving girlfriend (Linda Rosembaum) as he is to embark on a trip at Toronto airport sometime in the summer of 1978. All five of them, youthful, wonderfully unaware of time, smile for the camera set on a tripod for the last shot before departure. The photographer smiles under a Panama hat not knowing that his older self would one day look at the scene and write these words.
The top image is a self-portrait of the same man, minus the hat, the shining black curls, the tan: a man alone one morning trying to use up the last remaining frames in his camera in front of his studio window (never wanting to let a frame go to waste), holding the cable release without realising that by coincidence an image of his youthful days will show up in an old box of prints a day later.
The abysmal distance between past and present has prompted these words in the cold spring of 2013.
Of all these friends I have only seen Patrick once, eleven years ago in England.
I don't know what has happened to Linda, Tucker and Bea, the remaining three in this beautiful group portrait taken so long ago in one of the marvellous summers of our youth.