Faffie is the name written on the photo used in a collage piece of mine that appears in the latest edition of the Antelope Valley arts publication, SATURATION, which came out recently. Seeing the piece in the magazine, I’ve been thinking about Faffie again.
She is an evocative figure, full of story, looking up at the camera in a nearly candid pose. But I have to stress the “nearly” since this photo was taken, I don’t know, a hundred years ago or roundabouts. Candid photographs were not so common. There were no iPhones, not even Polaroids. It’s a studio photograph, but she still seems very natural and maybe a little surprised…
Faffie. A little blond girl, maybe six or seven years old or a little younger. She’s not so different from me when I was her age. She’s not so different from a lot of people. But she grew up to live her own life.
After that picture was taken, the rest of her life story played out.
That is part of what is so fascinating about working with old photographs. There is resemblance and, so, connection, but there is also the sure knowledge of autonomy. The person in that photo is real, or was real, and has/had a fully real life outside of that photograph.
The question is – What was that life like?
And that is the story that Faffie hides in her semi-candid pose, the story of what came before that photograph and what came after. Whatever happened to Faffie, she is not a seven year old anymore.
She’s not even a young seventy. She was seven in 1927 (or something like that).
This piece sold at a show in 2011, so I don’t see Faffie so much anymore. It was nice to revisit her in print in SATURATION. It’s nice to be reminded of old friends and their stories, even if I’m still kind of trying to figure out what those stories are. That’s the Thing though, that’s the Project. Creating spaces for stories to be told (or remain untold) (or something like that).