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Susan Sontag wrote, “Photographs (can) give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal.” She goes on to suggest that photographs are, “a way of certifying experience.”
The walls of Castle Gondolfo reflect both the implacable force that Urban VIII breathed into them in 1624, and the current fashion of genteel seediness which coats their façades in crackling layers. From the image we can we grasp either the enormity of the past power of the men who peered down from this window upon Lake Albano, or the situation of its current tenant. Is this a photograph of a past, a present, or a future?
As I leaned against the afternoon warmth of this wall, it was like a rock. And see the etchings in the stone window frame? Beneath your fingers they’re as crisp as yesterday, the artisan’s message left there at the end of a day some four centuries ago.
Odd how imagination’s so one-way. Beneath my fingertips I could feel what his hand felt as it wiped across this surface. And I can picture him packing tools, walking a cart half a block to the town square, getting wine, and wondering where his next job would take him.
I can imagine all of that, yet I cannot image the guy who might come upon this little story in 2507, yet he will know as much about me as I do about the man who made Urban VIII’s window.
We are all something's history.
NOTE: You will often find in-depth descriptions of this Italian visit among the comments below both as I add onto them and as you prompt my memory. I'll try to restrict my thoughts exclusively to the image here on the main site. Those comments begin here.