Did you hear the news about the daguerreotype that is potentially an image of Emily Dickinson? It’s only the second known photograph of the reclusive poet, and it’s a very striking image. For some reason I am so drawn to it, and I can’t figure out why. Is it because she was so enigmatic, that we mainly only know her through her work?
When I meet an author, I already know them to an extent through (my interpretation of) their work, but I am still interested in meeting them nonetheless. Sometimes just to express my admiration of their work, sometimes because I feel we can connect, or I can learn something further from them. Meeting an author can give you insight, often, into their work. But what of a photograph?
Besides mere contextual details of dress etc. I suppose a photograph can give a certain impression of personality (depending on facial expression, gesture, etc., think of the photographs of Oscar Wilde) but that could be as much what we infer as what’s actually there. What do you think?
Pondering all this did just remind me of this from a couple of years ago. Are the authors in these photographs trying to communicate a certain message, or are they just doing what the photographer is telling them to do? These days we can take so many photos until we get the one that we want to represent who we are to the world. But with Emily Dickinson we just have these two images. Her work truly does speak for itself. Is there any author we could completely say that about now?