Ursula Brookbank, "Test," 2007.

I was recently given this photograph. I do know this person, but I could not account for what I was seeing in this image. This held for me a fascination with familiarity’s absence. Or more to the point, with the intimacy of that absence. It was an arresting moment, to see the familiar just as it receded unseen into the shadows. To watch as the visage ebbed, and with it that ceaseless compulsion of appearances. In its wake, a vacancy’s arrival. I saw then in this portrait the unaffected gaze of endless night as it fell away from darkness. The image compelled me to take leave of my senses. And while senseless, I suddenly saw the repose of another–someone I imagine I have met somewhere before. Not in that incalculable ambit of time where we would have remained in each other’s presence, but in that presence obscured by this meeting. That place, in this photograph, is where the image withdraws from its glare of the brilliant familiar.

Jordan Biren, Artist

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