Then

A man, clad in an apron stands in the doorway of a shop that sells, amongst other things, Hungarian wines. The proprietor or merely an assistant? A boy dressed as a man, in a time before ‘teenagers,’ stands looking amused, hands on hips. A milkman adopts the same stance, though along with a passer-by he looks curiously toward us, as we look at him, for we are the future and they are the past, and it is only natural that we should be curious. Only the old woman crossing the road is oblivious to the ceremony of having one’s photograph taken.

That ceremony is now gone, or perhaps has become so ubiquitous that it has dissolved into other ceremonies, the artificial tourist pose, the gurning face made to indicate crazy fun or the trophy child held up to the camera. The passport photo now the last refuge of the formal ceremony of posing for one’s photograph.

Now

But now the street is empty, but for the blurred image of a man[?], sitting at a cafe table who, if he were aware that he was being included in this picture, would regard the prospect with indifference. What is astonishing here is not change but continuity, how so much has remained the same. Though in the droll joke of time the corner shop, so carefully framed in the photograph, now no longer deals in wines and groceries, but in photography.

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