Monday, May 19, 2008

Human Traces by Sebastian Faulkes

"Yes, but I live my days in my own head. I no longer live through the eyes and thoughts of another. When I was a child I was certain that I was unique. Then as a young man I became convinced that I was, if not unique, then of a complexity and fascination previously unknown." Valade levered a loose cobble up with the toe of his boot. "But over the years I came to understand about half of the paradoxes that made up my complexity. The remainder, it transpired, were either insoluble by me, or, more likely, had no solution. They were simply dead ends of no significance. So you see, Doctor," he said, replacing the cobble and firming it back in place with his foot, "that at the age of fifty-five I have essentially ceased to be of interest to myself."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks

"There is a famous man called Galton who takes photographs of mad people and then lays the images one on top of the other. He is trying to show that all murderers have the same shaped head, or that if you have a long jaw you are likely to be melancholic."

"And that is not what you do?"

"No. I do just the opposite. I use them to make patients look like less of a type and more of an individual. When I see them in their wards, I see a sort of undifferentiated mass. But when I take a picture, I see each man and woman. And each one is in fact a human with a story. In some ways the insanity is the least important thing about them. In a photograph they are still complete, so one is not tempted to see them so much as something broken."