They F*** You Up

image

Apple Blossoms, 1932
by Edward Steichen

I saw this photo on Friday. It is part of a large exhibition and I usually forget things (especially when I’m seeing lots of things at once) but for some reason this image hasn’t left me. When I close my eyes I can see it perfectly and I don’t think that this photo will leave me, not for a long time.

When Steichen took this photo all those decades ago, he did not know that it would have such an effect on a young woman like me, so many years later. I wonder, if Someone said to Steichen,

“The photo that you’re about to take will significantly haunt a young woman in around 80 years from now. Seeing your photo will make her question everything and everyone she’s ever known, propel her through time and space, over memories and places and faces, and the photo will make her feel uncomfortable and almost nauseous, but she will never take her eyes off it because something about it will drag her in and it won’t let her out…”

Would the young Steichen go on to take the photograph if he had this knowledge? Or rather turn on his heel and shoot the nearby lake instead. I don’t know, I don’t know, we will never know. Art is power: immeasurable, sickening, sublime power.

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