David Van Taylor 01
When was the photo taken?
Where was the photo taken?
Santa Cruz, CA
Who took the photo?
What are we looking at?
This is a photo of my late wife Ali (right) and her oldest friend Catherine. Ali is visiting Catherine and Michael, who were in graduate school across the country, where Ali and Catherine grew up.
Ali is wearing Catherine's sweater.
How does this make you feel?
It triggers my grief for Ali, who died 7 years ago. This picture is from a few months before I met Ali in 1995. It feels like a doubly-lost world: you can never really know what your love's life was like before you met, & when your love dies the knowledge and memories you do have gradually slip from your grasp.
The blurry, washed-out quality of the photo feels like a reflection of that feeling.
Did you expect to see this?
I really had no idea. I found the camera as we were cleaning out my house in advance of a renovation with my new wife. It's a Lomo camera I knew Ali had gotten on a trip to Austria before we met.
There are only a few legible exposures on the roll. I wonder if there are other photos that were destroyed by a light leak, or if she never took other photos.
What kind of memories does this bring back?
It's a small window into a time for which I have no memories of my own. But it also makes me think of times we spent together when we were both young, & had no children, & traveled to see friends on our own. And it makes me think of the strong bond between Ali & Catherine.
Catherine said she's always hoping to find one more note from Ali, and this feels like the closest thing she'll get.
How do you think others will respond to the photo?
Gosh I don't know. There is something intimate in the way Catherine holds Ali close. I hope they will grasp a little of how close these two people were. If they know the whole story it could make them feel like Catherine is still holding onto Ali, even after she's gone.