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On my kindred photographs.
Both sepia-toned photographs share expanse as their perspective, although the scale is distinguishable. Lidudumalingani took his from the 27th floor of an apartment complex in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, and I took mine from the window seat of a Washington DC-bound Amtrak, a hour after we pulled out of the station. Lidudumalingani reads the migrant history of Jo’burg into his photo—the arrival of mine workers who came to work in the city in the 1800s—and with that pretext, as well as the blur of men in construction vests, I read journeying into mine.
By the time I took the photo, I no longer lived in New York, and scarcely found reason to commute by rail. Being on an Amtrak was thus an exception, and I thought it wise to record the American life I was seeing, as if anew.
Photographs taken in transit are hurried and therefore distanced. Such remove is present in photographs taken from the height of a 27th floor. “Distanced,” but to whom? Not to me, because when I left my assigned seat to seek out an empty spot close to the window, I saw the hurry of a world I once called home. I sensed a familiar longing. The record I sought was nostalgic in mood, to look into a cityscape and recognize myself. ¶
This is the #12 (final) edition of KINDRED, a series on TENDER PHOTO. Each contributor selects a photograph from their family or personal album, pairs it with another photograph from the Tender Photo archive, and writes a short reflection on why they have selected both photographs. The idea is to find an analogy between two photographs that might be similar or dissimilar in composition, but connected to an experience, emotion, or idea.