Day 03: Grief, and photography

Uncle Nestor, my father's first cousin, was "manoy" (big brother) to him. And now, the first person our family loses to COVID-19— a year, a month, and a day since it was declared a global pandemic. When I sent this picture of the last time I saw him, my father replied, "He should have been still alive." 

It's usual and for me, effective, to express grief through the act of searching for, looking at, or sharing photos. It's a task I feel the urge to do when someone passes away. There will be no new photos. And the ones that exist will start to be seen in a new light. Sometimes, there are beautiful photos that perfectly capture what that person was like, you could show it to a person they hadn't met. And other times, we stumble upon a unique strand of sadness or regret that we never took enough good photos of a person. Didn't think of it, like thinking they would never go away. I am increasingly becoming aware of this function of photography. Because everything in our situation can transform in one way or another. Photography, no matter who does it, freezes a point in time. And in doing so, it makes a wealth of other processes and emotions possible. Scientific study, nostalgia, revision, grief. 

My photo of Uncle Nestor was a "stolen" photo of him, taken with a cellphone. I remember taking the photo because I remember feeling awkward pointing my phone at him. He was showing us around his house-slash-school, a family-run business, and the building's topmost floor was our last stop. If I were to guess what my intention was in taking a stolen photo, I think it was because I knew we didn't get to see or talk to him often because they've lived in Cebu for a long time. For some reason, this moment has become very dear to me. Taking the photo and having it now. 

Entry 03 / #100 Days

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