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Friday Slide Show: On Mount Davidson Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

8 July 2022

There is a passage in a story by Italo Svevo which we have never been able to forget. It's a reflection on perspective, one that will be immediately familiar to you.

A young girl is taking her first train ride.

The little girl peered out at the countryside as it sped past and for some minutes was silent. Then she pressed her face flat against the pane and Signor Aghios smiled because he realized she was doing it to see better. But a moment later, whimpering, she turned to her father: "I want to see myself!"

Aghios understood what the child meant. Svevo writes, "Only he felt and knew what sorrow there was in not being able to see oneself while traveling."

And so it is with photographers who are there all the time, taking photos but never in the picture themselves.

And so it was with us, climbing Mount Davidson the day after July Fourth when a fire had been reported (but which we found no evidence of). We have pictures of the view from Mount Davidson but nothing of ourselves on Mount Davidson itself.

We succumbed to this phenomenon before, very early in this series. Mount Davidson was a slide show of just three images in black and white but all taken from San Francisco's highest peak, not of it.

The pleasure of the journey would have been completely different if she had been able to see that great train with its engine as it slithered across the countryside like a swift, silent serpent. To see the landscape, the train and oneself at the same time -- that really would have been traveling!

And so it is with all of us behind a camera.

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