I’m not a poetry kind of person but I love this. It is about the relationship between family and photography, told from the point of view of someone who didn’t have a family. It is by Lemn Sissay.
â€œNow come on everybody smile,
come on smileâ€ Click
Our lives are punctuated by this
Thousands of children in orphanages
Asked take my picture take my picture
And the response, negative.
Now one of them
as an adult looks back into her past
and there are none, no pictures
Neither photographers, nor time, nor place.
And when she turns to say â€œdo you remember?â€
Thereâ€™s no one to..
If there is no proof she existed then
And so she learned to incorporate
Her own invisibility in her adult life.
Persona non grata to her own past
An entire gallery of untaken photograph
Out in the world of families she grew to know
The click wind click wind click wind
Of every body else’s every day life
All family is, she thought,
is a group of people taking pictures
Of each other over a life time.
And each person has a different angle
On the interpretation of each picture
And there are opinions and arguments
and great big nuclear fall outs about this.
And people think that that is what family is
They are fighting over the negatives
And someone wonâ€™t talk to someone else
Because someone else sees the picture
Entirely, differently. How easy families pixelate
But she knows that families that the nature of family
Is that it forgets that it was never about the interpretation
Itâ€™s about the fact that the picture was taken in the first place
And so after 45 years when she saw him, there
What developed, what focussed, as he looked at her
Was the decisive moment. Click.
Now smile . Come on you two . Smile.