Another Gentleman. Another Hero


It saddens me to find these Carte De Visite on market stalls. I feel like I’m rescuing them from an uncertain future, although I’m sure if I didn’t buy them, someone else would. Being a photographer I hate to think of them being thrown out. Taken when photography was in it’s infancy. When portrait photographers sprung up in every town and city and having one’s portrait taken was a special occasion. Something to dress up for and present your best to the world.
What I have in my hand is a print on paper and stiff card. It is a light reflection of the man. It is an illusion. It is not the man himself. He has long gone, but what it represents is a very brief moment in time. A fraction of a moment in this man’s life. I don’t know his name or anything about him except the image was taken in Birmingham ( UK ). I don’t know what life he’d had before the image or the life he was going to have. I don’t know what kind of man he was, kind and gentle or something else ?  I look into his eyes for clues but he is not looking out of the image back at me. I’m wondering what lies behind those eyes ? What is the space he occupies ? What was he thinking? Maybe somewhere not far away buried in the ground are the remains of this man.  A life led. Photographs are memento mori. The people captured in these images are heroes to me. Heroes of yesterday. Each and everyone of them.
I feel the need to buy as many of these as I possibly can. All heroes !