I’m not allowed to take pictures of you, to talk about you by showing your face. You have the right to your inner world, to your anonymity even if, paradoxically, you may dream of being in the spotlight. In American America, I would not be bored or intimidated.
Neither did yesterday afternoon, in fact. Indeed, I didn’t use a flash, most of you didn’t even notice. Who knows, you may one day see this picture, or someone around you will see you and shout insults at you because you will have lied. You weren’t where you were supposed to be, you skipped school, you weren’t at work.
Of course, you didn’t do any of that. I’m making this up, I don’t know you. When I take the subway, you’re still there, but it’s not you anymore. Your faces are strangely similar, but they are not the same.
For my part, I was returning from a commission. I took pictures of an electrical station. So I wasn’t in my usual place either. Maybe someone took a picture of me and put the image on the Internet. One of my clients, thinking I was working on his project, might have seen me.
Boy, I’m entitled to my anonymity too. It is a small thing that we place in front of us, like a veil, to preserve our sumptuous personal attire.
It doesn’t matter. I took this picture a few minutes after I finished reading A Voyage to Arcturus, a strange book written at the beginning of the 20th century. It did not make the same impression on me as it did when I first read it. I was twenty years old. But looking at you, dear passers-by, immediately brought me back to this book that I had just left. The conclusion of the novel is so hyper-metaphysical that its meaning is overlooked.
The author is probably right. We will never be able to understand even if, behind our anonymity, we know everything.