Self-portrait (shadow) with Yogi, Thessaloniki, Greece, 1970
Dear Nina - This is the most difficult photograph in my family album. When I pressed the shutter release button, what I saw is completely different from what I see now. I took the photograph a couple of months before this man sexually abused me. He was my supervisor and my mentor. I was an object of his desire. I trusted him. He was grooming me. For twenty-five years I disconnected from the photograph, or rather, from the memories associated with the photograph. In psychotherapy I was able to unravel what happened, and subsequently, revaluate the photograph, and the trauma.
When I joined the ship Catriona was my girlfriend. We were intimate. When I left the ship intimacy was something else. After making the fifty-year anniversary photograph in Oban with Catriona, we drove to her house on the east coast of Scotland. Catriona had the letters I wrote to her from the ship. I did not recognize myself as the author. That guy was confident about intimacy. Between two letters the tone changed. The transition was distinct and disturbing. My memories are vague. I shut them off for so long. I know the experience was terrifying. Something got left behind.