A thing that reminds me of a wound
In “Camera Lucida”, a book that skillfully describes why photography becomes a refuge for the dead, those who have already passed, and those who are yet to pass, the philosopher Roland Barthes introduces the term ‘punctum’. He calls a punctum a detail that pierces the viewer like a pinprick — a wound in a photo.
When I look at this photo, I see two wounds: one inflicted by the photo on itself, the other on the viewer. Who is this woman in the photo? Is it my grandmother or someone else? I can’t tell from her dress or her figure. Worst of all, there is no one left to tell me who she is. Foolish, foolish me, who started taking interest in family memory when it was too late. I have to come up with a consoling answer: to me, this woman seems to be the very memory of the past, which very rarely reaches us in its entirety, without a worn-out face and holes.