Friday, 5 November 2010

Explaining A Postcard To A Sex Therapist

Every photographer’s dilemma: when something dramatic unfolds before his eyes, does he stand back and observe - get the picture? Or intervene – act - and loose the image?
At noon on April 25th 1985, on the Schlossberg, a cliff overlooking Freiburg, I see a woman about to slit her wrist. I dash over, grab her by the shoulders - take her in my arms. She fights me off. Must have thought I was going to push her over the edge, not, pull her back from it. Some Saviour. I came over more as a pervert. She hadn’t been cutting her wrist. There was no knife. I’d saved her from reading a postcard.

That evening I explain what happened, to a sex therapist and a hydrologist (a couple I’m staying with). They find the whole thing hilarious. No matter how I explain it I can’t make them see how I mistook a postcard for a knife.
I bore a sex therapist and a hydrologist to tears, but not before we’ve agreed to rendezvous on the Schlossberg the next day at noon, to re-enact the scene. This time I'm the photographer, and the sex therapist plays me. The hydrologist plays the role of the wrist-slitter, and the most difficult role, that of the postcard, is played by a knife. 

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