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Tell me again, why do I need one of these things?

your grandfather would call this "art photography"

your grandfather would call this "art photography"

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frannie yellow
janne_d said I should try describing this, so I did. woolly_socks might appreciate that the phrase "cowboy angel" so very nearly made it into the stuff below. So have some spontaneous wingfic! It makes everything better.


You're holding a fragment of somebody's life in your hand. And perhaps, once, that would be the truth. Fifty years concentrated in a daguerroetype; one fragile metal sheet showing everything that were and everything yet to be. Starched families looking sombrely at the apparatus. And if you had to stay rock steady for that amount of time; you would understand why nobody ever smiles.

Smiling is frivolity. Remember the words of the operator; the power of light is etching your soul and it shall endure until the end of all things. Just as much as the paintings in Versailles or Century City (pop 438), this is raw immortality. And you should look your best as all your virtues will be writ in silver iodide. And, when the end comes, so shall your descendants know you as you walk along the banks of the River Jordan.

The picture in your hand - you found it on a flight out of Chicago, wedged down the side of your seat - has some passing similarities. It's not as bad as some of them are; bought at the Niagra Falls or Gettysberg with identikit costumes and empty eyes. Seipa squid-juice long ago replaced with dye cartridges and computer enhancement. Scratches added where it won't disfigure the sitters. That inked bluebird is so carefully lifted out of your decoultage.

The photograph in your hand is different. There is a strange glow that catches in the eye of the camera, gilding every inch... these are the colours that history has forgotten and they take you to somewhere beyond the Rivers of Babylon and through the gates of heaven. You cannot see the man's head nor anything below the jeans riding easy just below the waist. That belt has had a hard life, cracked yet strong and as ageless as time itself. You'd fancy the image a little older - a photograph of some crackled keepsake, just touched up a little to neaten it up. It could be somebody's grandfather, if it weren't for the wings.

This is the testimony of more than one artist; before this one painted with light, another painted with skin and ink. Besides you, a fellow passenger with some interesting taste in ear... ornamentation, says it couldn't be that old. It's a recent phenomenon, he adds before taking a closer look. Without the mosquito whirr of the electric pen, it's easy to doubt in the power of steel, mechanics and talent. The wings strike a precious balance; too much detail and life smudges the design away, like water washing away chalk in the school yard, like decaying fruit losing shape and form.

You have time enough on this flight for second thoughts. The lighting in the cabin dims into unnatural twilight as you fly ever northwards. Here the light dances as you try not to think of the frozen barrens below you. And this picture has become something else, a talisman for a safe journey. And praying for safe passage as the sky paints itself emerald green and burning purple, you look closer and closer. And the light captured in the air, in that one fragment of life, reveals itself and fractals dance before your eyes. Then you see them; his true wings, outstreched and revealed. Not the folded feathers etched with scrimshaw skill onto the skin, but as delicate and immense extending beyond the boundries of paper almost embracing you and everyone beside you as the wind suddlenly quiets and you drift into your life tomorrow.
  • *is in awe*

    That was gorgeous - so poetic and the last two sentences are beautiful.

    (Also, you win forever for using the word 'daguerroetype'.)
    • I'm glad it worked. Really really glad. I hoped I wasn't over egging it.

      (I win forever for finding out how to spell it)
      • I win forever for finding out how to spell it

        Yes indeed :-D Not one of those simple, familiar words.
  • Oh, lovely! Really lovely!
    • Oh, good. You are a coniskwer to wingfic what wine tasters are to wine. Also, right now the writing brain isn't quite engaged so you get lumpy metaphors. I'm wondering how I missed my "wingfic" tag off this.

      I'm really happy you like it and it makes sense to more people than just me. That cannot be over-rated.
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