Silent Photograph

Consider this proof of life! I have my wits and my fingers, still. I will return more consistently, and soon, I hope. I miss my friends here.

I offer a snippet for BeKindRewrite’s InMon, for the prompt Silent Photograph. It is very short.



On every world where creatures have both sight and sapience, the technology follows: translating light into matter.
Lens, mirror, silver nitrate, ammonium thiosulfate… It’s easy to take it for granted once it becomes commonplace. But I think when people see it for the first time, they know the truth of it.
Photography is witchcraft.
I smirk, but I mean it.
Go on, roll your eyes. I know you want to.
Then stop and think for a moment. You take a camera, point it towards some map of light and take your exposure. What have you done? You have frozen a moment of light that will never come again and trapped it in static silence.
Think of all the photographs taken. How many outlive those who know what they are, or why? They lose context, they lose names, they become nothing but a static, silent record of light.
Yet you laugh at the thought that a camera captures essence and soul.
Take your shot.
The camera will be more honest than your eyes, if less sensitive. It will record exactly what it sees.
There. You have the record, my essence trapped in silence. I don’t envy you, in that darkroom, when you finally see what you have caught.

About jubilare

Just another tree in the proverbial forest. Look! I have leaves! View all posts by jubilare

25 responses to “Silent Photograph

  • Krysta

    Yay! You’re back! We’ve missed your writings!

  • Stephanie Orges

    Ooo is that last line added? I don’t remember it from before. Adds a nice chill to a string of great lines.

  • stephencwinter

    It’s great to hear from you again! I love the magic of the photograph. Three memories came to mind as I read your piece.
    One is looking at photographs of people long dead. I think of their dreams, their hopes and fears and my heart goes out to them. Then I think of inheriting family photographs after my mother died last year. I was their first born and many are of my parents with me. My mother is young, beautiful and proud. She loves directly at the camera. I feel the sadness of knowing that all of that is gone now. Finally I think of occasions when I look through an album of photos of the days when my children were young. After I have turned a few pages I realise that each photograph is making me smile. I am greatly blessed.
    I guess I have touched the mystery of the joy and sorrow of life again. Of one thing I am sure. What the camera does is to capture the beauty of life. Do I mean that? What of manipulated beauty? The photo shopped model or celebrity? I think that I want to say that the divine image is not wholly obscured even there.
    I look forward to reading much more of your work now that autumn is with us.

    • jubilare

      Hey there! I’ve missed your blog. I hope to get back and see what you’ve been doing soon! ^_^

      I know what you mean about photographs. It’s thoughts like that that inspired this piece, to be sure. Working where I do, in an archive, nameless portraits and landscapes, fragments of people’s lives captured and then stripped of context are all around me. And in my folks’ house there are walls of old family photographs, some of people I never met and images of me, my immediate family, and extended family, spanning all the years of my life so far. It’s an amazing record. Amazing that we are capable of capturing such images. And yes. I think the fact that we are capturing an echo of the divine image and the creation add yet another layer of amazement. Sometimes, when we really think about what it is we are doing, every motion of life is a kind of magic, whether good or bad. The very fact that we are capable of doing anything, that we exist at all, is a gift beyond reckoning, and something that should inspire awe. Photography, painting, music, sculpture, all of the arts that allow us to capture and echo back that creation are somehow holy, I think… even though we sometimes misuse or desecrate them.
      And now I am rambling. ^_^ But I suppose that is alright, too. By the grace of God, I am capable of rambling, too.

      • stephencwinter

        I loved your ramble! What strikes me from what you said is that the work of sub-creation that Tolkien was conscious of is done by most of us in a manner of which we are largely unaware. And others act in a way that is Saruman-like treating the creation with contempt.
        I liked the image of the archive. I have a sense of you being surrounded by the fragments of so many stories all crying out to be heard.
        And I look forward to greeting you at my blog soon!

        • jubilare

          Yes, subcreation. ^_^ I do believe Tolkien was on to something there. But then, I guess, that shouldn’t be surprising.

          The stories are endless, really, and many of them very fragmented. Kind of like a mosaic of humanity.

          • stephencwinter

            I have been thinking about your reply. It strikes me that your story telling style is a gathering of fragments. They are spread out before the reader who may wonder if they are going to connect. Actually, with E.M Forster, I believe that everything connects.
            I do hope that you are still writing. I hope that with a passion. I think that you have a unique voice and that it has quality! And I want to see how the story that you were working on earlier in the year connects!

          • jubilare

            ^_^ Oh, I am still writing! Stephanie, of BeKindRewrite is an effective fury on my heels, as I am hopefully on hers.
            All of my stories interconnect in one way or another, which is fun for me. Which story in particular do you refer to? The one I sent you a snippet of, or any of the ones I have posted here?

          • stephencwinter

            What a gift the “effective furies” of our lives are!
            You ask me which of your stories I mean. Certainly the snippet that you kindly sent me was of that nature. I remember being thrown into a scene in which characters were in an action that tested them to the limit. I had names but no back story. And no promise that one might be given to me! If I were to make a contrast it would be with the very skilful writers of soaps. They write in such a way that if someone arrives new to the story they can pick it up really quickly and if someone has been away for a while they can rejoin without much difficulty. When I read your work I do not receive that kind of comfort! I promise you that this is not a negative criticism. I am not saying I wish that Jubilare were more like a soap writer! I am trying to draw out the contrast to say how I have responded to your work thus far.
            When I read your work I feel as if I have wandered into a James Joyce or Samuel Beckett world. A world of fragments before which I must learn to wait attentively and allow what they have to say to me to emerge at the time of their choosing. I assure you that that is a compliment! Is this something that you do explicitly or does it flow as a kind of stream of consciousness?
            I hope that I have not offended you here. Writing this has given me the desire to read more of your work and when I say that I think your voice is almost unique or certainly rare I mean it.

          • jubilare

            I am not offended. It isn’t my explicit intent to make my readers feel thrown, but at the same time, starting slowly and building characters before action isn’t usually my style. However, I do consider writing a sort of contract. The introduction of characters without context is a promise that context will come, and the introduction of conflict is a promise for that conflict to have a purpose and to be resolved. Does that make sense?

          • stephencwinter

            It does make sense and, of course, I believe that the end of everything is resolution. In some ways I think I was addressing myself and my need for resolution. Why is this so important to me? Why can’t I lay down that need and simply trust?
            I am glad that your writing (or at least the snippets that I have read so far) challenges me in this way. Don’t let me off the hook too easily! But I am still comforted by the hope of resolution. And I look forward to reading more of your work.

          • jubilare

            Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been betrayed by writers before. When I read or watch a work I am putting a great deal of trust in its creator, and when that trust is betrayed, it hurts. So often times, now, I am wary of trusting writers, and sometimes that inhibits my enjoyment of a work.
            I’ve noticed that different people have different reactions to stories. Some find it very easy to separate narrative from reality, to maintain emotional barriers, reminding themselves that characters aren’t real. Still others enjoy the catharsis of more brutal works.
            As for me, I’m highly empathetic. I relate far too easily to characters in fiction, I get invested in the conflict, and therefore lack of satisfactory resolution makes me miserable. I don’t say that I like perfectly neat an happy endings (but I guess that’s a given, considering my love for Tolkien! ;) ) but I do need some amount of closure and hope. And of course, I write what I want to read.
            For all that I respect his skill, I’m not brutal like George R. R. Martin. And as much as I enjoy his fluff, I am no David Eddings, either. I’m not exactly sure what I am, yet. But I won’t serve my readers despair.

          • stephencwinter

            As you probably guess I belong to the company of empathetic readers! There is a flow between their stories and my inner life.
            I dislike George Martin. He reminds me of the villains in the books of Charles Williams, necromancers who play with the souls of others.

          • jubilare

            I consider Martin highly skilled, and though I can’t read his work (it makes me feel ill) some of his brutal perspective has truth to it. But it seems bereft. Anything that he might consider hope is, to me, no more than a lesser form of despair. And I can’t read work like that.

          • jubilare

            And any time you want more to read, just let me know. :)

          • stephencwinter

            I would like to read more of your work especially if it encourages you towards publication.

          • jubilare

            Then I will send you more anon. :)

  • technicolorlilypond

    Welcome back, Jubilare! I’ve missed you. Thank you for sharing such a lovely, spooky piece of creativity. It gave me a pleasant shiver and brought back memories of using a darkroom and the anticipation of seeing what, if anything, would develop. I look forward to all your Autumn creativity. :-)

    • jubilare

      I’ve missed you, too! You’ve been in my thoughts, and I hope to get over and check out what you’ve been up to.
      I took photography in college, good old silver film, too. I have fond (and frustrating) memories of the darkroom, and I think that definitely came through in this piece. If film development and printing isn’t a kind of alchemy, what is? ;)

  • Colleen Whitver

    Really good. Loved it.

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