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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

What is queer?

A five letter word, just like label
Reclaimed and ‘brand’ new
14 Scrabble points
A playground daddy slur
Beautiful otherness
Does it really matter?

After many weeks away, it was good to be back and not going shopping. However my lightness of being was soon eclipsed by my turn on the chair facing the lens. I had enjoyed the photo booth but in this re-creation I felt strangely unrehearsed and beaten by the flash gun’s menacing strobe. I was in the headmaster’s office or the inquisitor’s chair. Despite being amongst friends, it was all a bit queer and there was no comfort zone.

The pictures themselves did nothing to make me feel any better. My first reaction was horror at seeing my age writ large by piercing unforgiving digital technology. There appeared to be none of the softness and romance of the photo booth in these images. The thought of seeing my face blown up and pasted on walls also filled me with dread. I found myself considering withdrawing from the project rather than confront the many demons ram raiding my brittle self-esteem. But then like a retreating wave the fear subsided as she emerged before me.  I could see my mother’s features woven into my own, the line of her chin; the grey warmth of her eyes. Mesmerised I revisited each picture in turn, greedy to see more of her. Tears welled in my eyes as I channelled the ever present sense of loss with a joy at seeing her alive in me. She died proud of me, another five letter word.

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