Emulsion Tear

By: pbcmedia

May 15 2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: 1, Culture, Events, Family, Life, Personal, Photography, The Single Life


Focal Length:100mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 10D

This image is a technically “failed” polaroid emulsion transfer. The delicate emulsion lift and my fingers didn’t see eye to eye in the transfer.

However, the image breaks my heart each time I see it. I try to explain it…There was something about the fabric tear on the paper–beautiful things disfigured. The scale of this ship relative to my late brother standing on the pier at Southhampton, England at the age of 14– the disappearance of him to cancer–to the disappearance of truly beautiful ships in the world to aviation and cruise ships that look like floating condominiums.

I looked at this image again this morning after looking at earthquake photos from China. The NYTimes had a slide show of seven photographs about disappearance and disfigurement that will tear your fabric apart.

The photographer’s name is Shiho Fukada. These photos are not metaphorical or in need of an explanation. They are of grief.

After taking these images, Shiho Fukada must have gone behind a pile of rubble and collapsed to the still shaking ground. There is a price to be paid for bearing witness to the unbearable.

The ability to see the world is a curse and a blessing.

©Pat Coakley 2008


5 comments on “Emulsion Tear”

  1. I hold my heart in my hands and it cries, every single photo taken in Burma and China rips me to shreds making me want to jump on a plane and go help. To see the world in its true reality I agree is both a blessing and a curse, for me it is better to take the curse because it signifies seeing things as they are, doesn’t make it any easier.

    I admire that photographers courage and all those before her, for their strength and courage to face those realities. All I have done is car crashes I can’t even begin to imagine what it takes to do what they do.

    Thanks for sharing this, I have book marked that link, many heart wrenching photos that we don’t get to see on our side.

  2. What a beautiful picture and accompanying writing. Thank you for sharing this.

    Regarding craftsmanship and pride, I can’t tell you how much I miss the beauty that used to exist in the world. I had the fortune to sail on the SS Norway (prior, SS France) twice. She was the last of the Ocean Liners, in my opinion. By the time I was carried on her, she was looking old and worn and now, she’s gone. I live on the waterfront and we get cruse ships in all summer long and well… to be blunt, the have no style whatever. Where’s the elegance? More like upended skyscrapers.

    As to loss of both things and people, it’s something I try not to forget or dwell on. Living with loss is to my mind, walking a tightrope. I listened to an NPR story yesterday about a couple who lost their two year old in the earthquake and it broke me apart. I couldn’t get home fast enough and scoop up my two year old son and one month old daughter and just hold them. I can’t imagine the pain of that loss and the thought of it scares the hell out of me sometimes.

    Turkish Prawn

  3. Thanks, Turkish Prawn, for taking the time to comment. If the NPR story broke you apart, then this slideshow may be too much for your walking a tightrope.

    My parents went on their honeymoon in 1939 on the French Liner, Normandie, which during the war was berthed in NYC piers and caught fire and rolled over from the water pumped on to it by the fireboats.

    My parents could never tell that story without their eyes tearing up. I’ve lived long enough now to know what they mean.

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I’ll be blogging about The Andrea Doria in coming weeks, as I went on that beautiful ship-the trip BEFORE it sank off Nantucket.

    I guess our family was bad luck for Ocean Liners.

  4. Wow. Now that’s an interesting coincidence! Though I did not get to ride the Ardrea Doria, my Mother’s parents did. I remember looking at slides of the trip in my Grandparents darkened living room and thinking that it was all gone now. How strange.

    Ships are a singular thing. We ascribe so much emotion to their existence and yet, we know that they won’t last. For the most part, they are far too large and costly to save once their life span has been reached (with a few obvious exceptions). Yet, when we hear of one either sinking or being scrapped, it’s like hearing about a great person passing away. It is for me, anyway.

    The ships that I miss the most are, in no particular order…
    SS Norway (Because I rode her)
    SS United States (Because of her needless demise)
    SS Portland (For her loss of life and impact on a small community)
    and the LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin (For a variety of romantic reasons)

    Thank you for sharing the writing and photos. I’ll be back often, I think.

    Turkish Prawn

  5. i am almost afraid to read your posts now as i get sucked in and then…what an emotional punch. not to worry though…i am definitely coming back for more. it is hard to believe what is happening in the world…i just can’t conceive of it. i did go and hug up my kids. loss is universal isn’t it? pain and suffering know no boundaries. thank you for writing and sharing.

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