He would show up in my photography. At first it was so indistinct I just thought I had some flaw in the digital camera. I almost went back to the shop with it, but initially his image came and went. It wasn’t ubiquitous, so I hoped for the best.
But over time it became clearer. It was a face. A man’s face. Superimposed across whatever I was trying to capture, I captured him instead. Always him.
I didn’t recognise him. He meant nothing to me that I could name or understand. Yet he was there, insistent and silent in his presence.
Can a ghost haunt a camera? Is that possible, and if so, why?
Made no sense, beyond the fact that I regularly took still photography of models, including men. So the subject matter, in a way, might have called to the ghost. But still, why me?
Over time it became frustrating. Photography is my career, it’s how I make my living. So this was a cruel joke from the universe, spoiling so much of my product. I was starting to get a reputation around town, the kind you don’t want. I was starting to lose customers, and that was hurting, really hurting – both my bank balance and me.
Then one day he came in for a portrait. And I knew, immediately, it was him. It was the ghost. Same facial structure. I notice things like that. It’s what makes me a good photographer.
So I asked him – politely at first – what his game was. I asked him to let me into the joke. He pretended like he didn’t know but I could see he was laughing inwardly. I demanded he tell me how it was done. But then he laughed outwardly at me and said I was mad.
That was it. I snapped. I will admit. I don’t remember starting the fight. I certainly don’t remember grabbing the heavy vase from the sideboard and hitting with it. I barely remember him falling, or the blood, or the loss of life.
I just remember photographing him, then, afterwards, laughing hysterically. Because, you see, it was all true now. He was my ghost.
And I guess he always was…
(c) Helen M Valentina 2016