- You were once the catalyst for an argument between my boyfriend and me.
- We were talking about an exhibition of yours we had both gone to ages ago, separately, at the National Gallery.
- It was a good one.
- Highlights included that photograph of your wife standing in the swimming pool with her back to the camera, and that one called “Merced River,” which shows a group of people standing around being attractive and free on a river beach.
- The picture is taken from quite high up, and quite far away, so the scene presents itself as one of idyllic self-containment.
- No one is aware of the camera, and so they are just quietly going about whatever business it is that they have, there on holiday by the river, in the prime of their lives, with no intractable problems.
- One person is wearing just some white underpants and standing in the river, looking a bit contemplative. Hands on hips.
- What is this person thinking?
- He’s thinking “It’s fine.”
- “This is a nice river.”
- We were talking about this photograph, and I said “I just don’t think anyone could get away with taking pictures like that, now.”
- My boyfriend asked me what I meant and I explained that I would think it was a bit weird if someone wanted to take a picture like that here in 2018.
- I would think it was somehow Irresponsible, or at least that the caption would have to say something like “Enjoy it while you can, folks, because we are all done for.”
- Climate change, I explained.
- We are all done for, etc, and you’re not really allowed to take nature photographs without alluding to that fact, now. Are you? Not according to me, you are not.
- My boyfriend saw what I meant, and agreed with me in theory, but I am afraid he did not do so with the vehemence I apparently required at that moment.
- I am afraid he was not too interested in listening to me berate an entirely imaginary person who might have the gall to take some pictures of nature without alluding to catastrophic climate change, here in 2018.
- He said, “Sure, absolutely, but.”
- It turned into a whole, incredibly stupid thing, spearheaded by yours truly.
- A little roundtable discussion called “What are you allowed to take pictures of now.”
- My boyfriend kept trying to get me to talk about something else, but you may rest assured that I was having absolutely none of it.
- Fun, hey?
- At one point, my boyfriend said, “I bet you William Eggleston doesn’t give a shit about climate change. You love William Eggleston.”
- I cannot remember how I responded to that, but the upshot was that we had a small argument, and I took to my high horse with abandon.
- Good one.
- That’s another thing about everything being absolutely in the toilet, these days: it makes one extremely tiresome to be around. So boring, always finding a reason to hector someone about something. Always comporting oneself in a manner that bears little resemblance to the way the people in “Merced River” choose to operate.
- This could all be pure projection.
- They are too far away to see the expressions on their faces.
- They seem fine, though.
- Best of luck to them, and to you.
- Happy Birthday.
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