Constance was uncomfortable in front of the camera, but her husband didn’t seem to notice, or care. He was constantly calling on her to stand and pose for his many ‘tests’. He would practice often. He was an avid photography buff, a science buff in general, actually. The technicalities, precision and experimentation that was involved in photography appealed to his inquisitive mind. Constance, on the other hand, had no interest in the ‘sciences’. Her solace was found in books. What she wanted most of all was to disappear to a far away land. An easy land. Like the place her parents came from. Where she could tend a small vegetable garden, with one or two goats from which she could get enough milk and make enough cheese to feed herself. She didn’t want the complications that came with marriage, she didn’t want the sorrow that came with being married to her husband. Every day, she would prepare his breakfast (two eggs, a slice of ham and a piece of cold toast (no butter)), and every day, he would take it without thanks, and retreat into his den from where he would not emerge until dusk. During these hours, Constance would keep company with the radio in the kitchen, wishing, almost willing herself to go into that room and shake her husband from his internal, closed world; tear him away from the collection of moths he laid out with pins behind glass frames; and remove him from the strange, disordered, misunderstood manuscript that he scribbled away at every day; and beg him to look at her, speak to her, lover her. These moments in the garden, with the camera, were the only times he looked at her…. but his gaze was obscured by the aparatus, and he looked at her as a scientist would look at a specimen, one of his moths to pin and place behind glass.
This is the story of ‘Constance’ that came to me as I looked at her. Her story could be completely different…..