In Memoriam by James de Leon
Imagine your ideal obituary. So the headline, hopefully not prematurely, features your name, age, your claim to fame, the word “dead” in the title. It’s actually very common for obits to be pre-written. It goes without saying that most are uncomfortable with the prospect of writing about their own life in the penultimate past tense – let alone anything involving death in general. James de Leon
I had never met Ale before, but it’s amazing how familiar and how fascinated you can become with someone’s media shadow nowadays. I can still picture her dancing to Blondie. What’s also amazing is how swift my thoughts can turn funerary. Here I was, standing on a plastic chair lifting my Canon AE-1 above my head attempting to keep the camera on an imaginary horizontal plane. Ale beams upward while submerged in warm water in the heart-shaped tomb, I mean tub, the placid surface lightly drizzled with flowers purchased across from a cemetery. Actually, the cheap flowers may have been the grim trigger.
What if your obituary, besides containing the perfunctory biopic jargon, was instead a grouping of photos of you in your early 20s, poised, semi-vulnerable, an intimate gaze extending a sense of readiness above all? I think your unborn grandchildren would love them.
Model: Ale Washington (@alewm)
James de Leon is a visual artist based in New York City focusing on cinematic portraiture.