Reading Sally Mann's Hold Still, I keep thinking
about my own kids in pictures and where my own boundaries lie.
I do ask my kids for permission for every pic I post of them but then again,
perhaps they will regret it? Or perhaps they won't. Are they old enough to know? Are my pics of them overstepping the boundaries?
Looking at Sally's (family) pics and reading her book, it seems as many of the portraits of her kids are self portraits by proxy, a time delayed fiction of her own personality as a child and in childhood.
this pic here is niki right before going to bed at my parent's summer house.
I slept right there in that bed as a kid, wearing that exact nightgown. And I do feel like this is not just a pic of Niki, it's just as much a self portrait of me at 7.
I only need to look at it to remember the lightly damp and cold sheets at a house with no real heating, the smells of 100+ years of wallpaper and old paint, the sounds of ants in the walls and the wind rustling the leaves of the oak right outside, the weirdly bright Nordic summer night light in the Stockholm archipelago, the faint scent of flowers and grass drifting through the window left just a little open. The sound of waves hitting the shores beneath.
I've been back every year as an adult, but I remember it clearly at 7. I remember having a body that size. the line between myself and my child becomes blurred but only to me. to others it's niki I'm sure. Except to, perhaps, my parents and others who saw me there, at that age.