Each portrait imitates the person-ness of a person like the set of an open wake. This summer I found an eighty-year-old photograph of a four-year-old boy. My first visual discovery of who became my father’s father. He died 23 years before I was born. My family has alluded to two, vague at best, clues about him.

 

Where do they come from? From a family of notaries in the Haute-Garonne. Thereby endowing me with a race, a class. As the (official) photograph proves. That young man with blue eyes and a pensive elbow will be my father’s father. Final stasis of this lineage: my body. The line ends in a being pour rien.

 

The biographical information on the back, the handwriting’s timbre, the Irish landscape, the body and articles, a house in the background.

 

The photograph is a mask.

 

It taunts to be taken outside of the mundane. 800 years of Irish colonial history is a tantalizing touch away. This photograph stumbles. It stays in the realm of the person’s essence and family. Home.

 

There are differences to Barthes’ process. Instead of searching for the photograph that captures the essence of this person, this singular photograph ends up applying as the essence of the person. And my self-doubting imagination. Who am I to choose his essence?

The photograph’s clues and research bleed with the subjective qualities I project from knowing myself, and his sons. My grandfather’s essence speaks to my own essence.

 

The works’ Anthony-ness or Anthony’s Grandfather’s-ness is about observing longing by playing these stakes. We crave this.

 

Longing’s distance is a place of optimism. This is the “negative” space where love and understanding are fictionalized and reach their full, at times melodramatic, potential. We get to invent how much someone or thing loves us. A unidirectional shallow longing, and the mediocrity that comes with it.

 

The media (animation, video, photography) reflect the unidirectional shallow longing. A contrast to the technological push of HD VR providing too much information, sucking us into a world with no space for disbelief to even be suspended. On Photography begins with “In Plato’s Cave”.