Jerzy Durczak

Lamppost

Almost 400 years ago, a young Italian artist named Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (though he’s better known simply as Parmigianino) painted a self-portrait of himself, using a convex mirror as a guide. The charmingly distorted painting now hangs in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. In 1975 the post-modern poet John Ashbery wrote a book of poetry that shared its title with Parmigianino’s painting: Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror. Ashbery’s book won Pulitzer Prize.

The glass chose to reflect only what he saw / Which was enough for his purpose.

This is not a convex mirror, but Ashbery’s line from the titular poem is perfectly appropriate. What the glass reflects here is exactly enough for the photographer’s purpose. Parmigianino would approve, I think, and so would Ashbery. From the same poem:

The soul establishes itself. / But how far can it swim out from the eyes / And still return safely to its nest?

As far as necessary. As far as possible. As far as it desires. Safety is an illusion. As far as ever it can.

Blog photograph copyrighted to the photographer and used with permission by utata.org. All photographs used on utata.org are stored on flickr.com and are obtained via the flickr API. Text is copyrighted to the author, greg fallis and is used with permission by utata.org. Please see Show and Share Your Work