The Bicyclist  (color photograph 24″ X 30″)

It suggests movement, as if the photographer were running, or had been brushed against while taking it.  It gives some of the colors the same look one could get by smudging pastels with your thumb.  The colors are mostly browns and dark greens, like wet leaves.  Except, of course, for the wild red and orange and white of the flame that clings to the bicyclist’s back.  The bicyclist appears to be a teenage boy, wearing some kind of heavy fieldhand’s coat.  Perhaps some wild older boys splashed some kerosene on his back, and lit it with a cigarette as a cruel joke.  The bicyclist looks as if he is trying to outrun the flame.  His face, the side we can see, wears a look that is that mix of terror and giddiness that you see on teenage boys – dread knocking in his chest, trying to put on a good show.  His movement pulls the skin of his face back on the bones.  His cheeks are pink, and his hair flies back at the precise angle of the flame, as if the flame is a red shadow of his hair.  He is passing several people, watching from the side of the dirt road.  A man with a face almost as red as the flame roars with gap-toothed merriment.  A woman with a face like a squash going bad looks blankly past him.  A little girl wearing a blue hat with a rolled brim covers her mouth, her eyes round with fright for the boy.

Bath  (B&W photo , printed on parchment, 11″ X 9″)

The picture would be described as being a black and white photograph, but that’s not really true.  It is a gray photo, like the patterns left by years of moving small items on a coal miner’s shelf.  The darkest parts of the photo are not black, but charcoal.  The lightest parts of the picture are not white, but the white you are left with after you try to clean off the charcoal.  It is a portrait drawn not with ink, but with soot.
We know that it is a picture of a room in a city, as through the small window in the upper left-hand corner one can see chimneys, water tanks, and television antennas like the skeletons of perished scarecrows.  Dust particles slide down the beam of light into the small room.  Light gray curtains hang lifeless over the gray walls.  On the floor, and halfway up the wall is tile, mostly gray with charcoal trim.  In the center of the picture, and the center of the room, is an old-fashioned bathtub.  There is a woman in the tub, her long dark hair piled high on her head, exposing her long pale neck and slender shoulders.  Her breasts rise from the water in a way that suggests coastal cliffs, softened and sloped by a thousand years of rain.  One arm rests on the rim of the tub, suspended in the air like the bough of a young tree.  The other hand covers her face, but enough of the gray light reflects off of the bathwater and through her fingers that we can see that she is weeping.

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