As another birthday looms, I find myself reflecting on getting older. When did I cross the threshold between young and not so young?
I had a look at the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, as I feel there must be a word for this. The closest I could find was ‘backmasking: the instinctive tendency to see someone as you knew them in their youth […] an illusion formed when someone opens the door to your emotional darkroom while the memory is still developing’. So on top of anemoia, I now have self-backmasking syndrome.
I don’t know if age and photography has always been a theme, or if it’s just something you notice when it becomes terrifyingly relevant, like when you get your first grey hair, you find yourself peering at all the heads on the tube to see how grey they are; although a good hairdresser and a bottle of something blonde soon puts a stop to that avenue of degeneration.
In Vienna there seems to be a poster on every street corner for the exhibition Die Kraft des Alters, which I sort of feel compelled to go and see. Picasso, Klimt, Martin Parr, Harry Weber, Franz Hubmann, Sepp Dreissinger, to name but a few of the artists, all under one roof. It’s a powerful line-up and is exuding a formidable magnetic field. Maybe I’ll go on my birthday. Or maybe I’ll just drink champagne and dance on the table …