Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Who is the baby in the mirror?

Enough people have asked me this question to make me think it needs some kind of public answer. Is that Athena on the cover of the book? For some people who have asked this question, it has been a way of cautiously seeking confirmation of something that has already been assumed. Given that there is so much of us already in this book, why wouldn't I have gone the whole hog and put a picture of her on the cover?

It doesn't help that the book has occasionally been described as 'containing photographs of the author's daughter'. The book contains images, for sure, mostly still-frame captures from our home movies, many of which were actually shot by Athena. But she herself appears only fleetingly, unrecognisably. This has been intentional, of course. As father/author, I felt that she had had quite enough scrutiny in the pages of the book to need attention in any other medium. I wanted her to come alive through the words on the page, and let readers fill in the physical picture in their imaginations. Her name is known, but her face is not. We would all want it to stay that way.

So would I put her photograph on the cover? Of course not. The image is a stock photo, and I want to ask no more about it than that. The baby in the mirror is someone's little girl, deserving of her own privacy. As are all our babies.

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