Unknown photographer, probably 1930s. Gelatin silver print.

Collection of Réka Szentirmay. (front)

This gracefully painterly piece of treasure always reminds me of the brilliance of the unforeseen. I am fascinated by the delightful “mistakes” produced by humans or mechanical hiccups within the camera. Amongst such photographs, this is definitely the most beloved item in my collection, its pictorial qualities only heightened by its unfinishedness.

Look at this well-dressed lady frozen in the middle of a thought, blurry like a ghost. She wants to say something but it’s too late. Her time to shine is about to end, the narrow chance she had to share an idea is now gone. She hardly had time to pronounce the first syllable. She surrenders, the agony of rusting ignorance and unfairness shadowing her face. She has not given up yet, however. She will return, again and again. Until she can finally finish what she wants to say.

The perfect photographic representation of a Sisyphean task, this picture is nothing less than pain materialised. The essence of womanhood: the lingering annoyance of being unheard, being underestimated.

What an amazing object a photograph is, so readily giving itself to project our own feelings onto it! Regardless of who took this picture and when that happened, I feel a strong connection to the sitter and her torments—even though it could be simply an ill-timed imprint of an otherwise entirely happy moment. For me, it echoes the struggles all women face.

A pity that many do not realise that all that’s needed is the chances given. Honestly, that is all a human wants.

There is another side to every story. And it’s just one click away!

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