Embroidered silk. Taffeta. Suspended in motion. Nylon and wild silk. Rouge. Jewellery brooch. Pearl necklace. Eyeliner. Natural smile. Standards. Dance steps. Exuberance. Platinum blonde.
These words and things. Their resonance, when said aloud, contains their age. Words as if from a used goods store from another era. Things that have different names these days. Things that have barely left a trace. And yet, they are all there in this slide. There is the natural smile from back then, there is the men’s hand marking the beat, the cigar that wafts the smoke of evening party pleasures through the room.
In the flash of these contours, these sketches of a standard of life, the sketches of an ascribed person, a duplication takes place. Roles. A play on identity.
The film pulled. The film wind-on snagged. A photograph overlapped the previous one. Snapped by the left hand of the cigar-smoker, while the man’s right hand follows in time to the dancing women, – and here, a line of thought inserts the fading sound of the word ladies – framing them with smoke and gesticulation.
Celebration – also a word that is becoming rare. Ritualised pleasure. The ladies’ dance. The room full of smoke and warmth from movement. Lipsticked lips. Twisting and spinning bodies. Shifting to the music and the others’ glances.
In the foreground, in the glaring, dissolving light, a white, pale man’s hand. Supportive and yet dominant. The flash, an indicator of the half-darkened room where people are dancing, makes the hand into a white shadow. The gesture of the hand is a chance claim, I have lived and I have lived like this: In rhythmic motion, in the over-exposure of photographic technique, in the moment of celebration. And for the length of the ladies’ natural smile.