Photograph, Carlton Lake collection, Ranson University of Austin, Texas

Extrait de The invention of solitude de Paul Auster.

From a bag of loose pictures: a trick photograph taken in an Atlantic City studio sometime during the Forties. There are several of him sitting around a table, each image shot from a different angle, so that at first you think it must be a group of several different men. Because of the gloom that surrounds them, because of the utter stillness of their poses, it looks as if they have gathered there to preside a seance. And then, as you study the picture, you begin to realize that all these men are the same man. The seance becomes a real seance, and it is as if he has come there only to invoke himself, to bring himself back from the dead, as if, by multiplying himself, he had inadvertanly made himself disappear. There are five of him there, and yet the nature of the tirck photography denies the possibility of eye contact among the various selves. Each one is condemned to go on staring in space, as if under the gaze of the others, but seeing nothing, never able to see anything. It is a picture of death, a portrait of an invisible man.

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