After 12/7/2011, this blog will no longer be updated, although content will remain. Please visit my new blog at Hidden Latitudes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A picture a day... for eighteen years

  It is a simple, unadorned website. On a black background, a list of years, spanning 1979 to 1997, runs down the left side of the page. Click on one of the years, and you will see a Polaroid photo taken every day of that year (beginning March 31, 1979). Most of them are presumably pictures of friends. Most are unremarkable to the casual viewer. Yet it is most remarkable the dedication with which the photographer took to his task. Rarely there will be a photograph of just a slip of paper with the date. This was not because the photographer didn't take a picture. It was because the archivist could not locate the picture for that day, presumably in a pile of daily photographs.
  Yes, I said archivist. The pictures abruptly stop on October 25, 1997. In fact, the last few pictures were probably taken by friends. They show a man in a hospital room, dying. Eighteen days earlier, a photo seems to show him getting married. But he had been sick for some time. He had lost his hair to chemotherapy, but then his hair grew back, perhaps signalling that he had abandoned the chemo.
  Who was the photographer? The website is called "Jamie Livingston's Photo of the Day." But that only gives us a name, not a person. We are left to wonder.
  And I am left in wonder.
--W. S.

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