The Impermanent Pictures

Text & photography by Caspar Newbolt

Max Richter – Infra 5
Infra (2010)

At the end of the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner, the replicant Roy Batty delivers a profound and lasting statement. He talks of the loss of experiences, memories and moments that occurs when someone dies. After all you certainly don’t just lose the person, you lose a completely unique perspective both on your life and the lives of countless others. An irreplaceable recording of details seemingly too obscure or trivial to write down or photograph.

Quite how trivial is all relative of course. What of the tears no one saw quietly forming at the corner of the eyes that looked through the camera that photographed you being born? What of the rip in the dress on the person holding that camera, or the fight nine months before that caused that rip? The big scene. The making up. The kiss. The sex. Trivial to some, but probably not to you.

the impermanent pictures

My father’s parents are in their late 80s. They have led long and varied lives. They lived through and took part in the last World War. They have lost a son to drugs. They took in the children of their lost boy and had to raise them themselves. My grandmother was one of the women who helped decode the German invented Enigma machines at Bletchly Park in England, during the Second World War. She kept this secret for so long that she still refuses to talk about it. My grandfather, I have always known as a book binder with vast collections of leather bound books in his attic. It was only recently, after his accident, that I discovered it is to him that I owe the talent I have for graphic design. He ran a design studio in Covent Garden similar to mine.

Read more in N˚3: Fight.