The man inside the boy

Self portrait, autumn 1990

I got a scanner recently. It’s amazing it took this long. As a former photographer, you’d think I’d have had one ages ago. I like to think I was letting my thousands of analog images – slides and negatives – age, like wine or whiskey.

Or cheese.

Speaking of cheese: for some reason one of the first negs I wanted to scan was this one. Call me self-absorbed, but I haven’t seen this shot in a long time — yet it’s been on my mind.

There aren’t many pictures of me I really like. There were far fewer in the days before digital cameras. This one, a self-portrait taken in the early days of my photography degree at Concordia University, was a rare exception.

Looking at it again now, at last, I see why. My cheekbones look good, I guess. My ridiculously thick hair is interesting instead of irritating, or as someone once called it, offensive.

The simple symbolism of a young photographer breaking the frame appeals to me still.

But it’s not a portrait of me anymore. Not even a likeness. This is an image of a young guy I used to know, or thought I did. Today  I can’t read his thoughts at all.

He’s all action, moving everywhere. He doesn’t sit still for anything and it’s hard to tell what he stands for.

He doesn’t know anything yet, but he thinks he knows everything.

If I could sit down with him over a beer he’d probably find me interesting enough, but he’d keep interrupting. And he’d be the only one drinking.

I doubt if he’d see himself in the man he’d one day become.

And I’m not sure I see the man I am inside that boy of 21.

Addendum: I still wear that grey fleece pullover.

One comment on “The man inside the boy

  1. I hope I have memories and insight like than when I grow up. :-)


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