Friday, August 04, 2006

Photographing the sleeping dead

Last week I was going through my albums when I noticed a photograph taken during my college days. In the photo I am sleeping, lying flat on my back unaware of anything happening around. When I am looking at it now I could feel a chill all over me. The photo had the serene feeling of a body whose soul already departed. Maybe when I am dead this is how I am going to look.

That photo had looked normal when it was taken. And I remember my friends laughing at it especially seing my sleeping posture. Years later the same photo looked disgusting. Death was hanging all around. If I were a celebrity this might be the photo that fits the front page of any newspaper reporting my death.

Now I realize why elders often ask us never to photograph the sleeping. Initially I had considered it to be yet another superstition inhabiting our country. With the photo in my hand the reason became obvious. Also consider the fact that photography matured into its current form only during 19th century and 19th century was also a period of great scientific progress. So it was very naive of me to think that superstitions as stupid as "do not photograph the sleeping" were born during this period.

So next time think twice before you photograph a sleeping person. Because years later the same photo will appear "deadly".