You are privileged to view this image titled Lin Richardson, [contact sheet, with bound skeleton], c. 1970, digital scan of silver gelatin print in notebook

By Eleanor Malbon 

Lin Richardson, [contact sheet, with bound skeleton], c. 1970, digital scan of silver gelatin print in notebook

The first two seconds

squint at the picture

your eyes go straight to the skeleton

bound; recognise this as a symbol of the macabre

eyes flick to the androgynous children

playing, industrial infrastructure

juxtaposed with eucalypts

it’s generic (it could be anywhere)

back to the skeleton

 

The next four seconds

bound. tight.

is it real?

or some kind of circus prop?

anthropological transportation method?

it dawns on you that real or not

it’s a symbol of a person bound fast in the foetal position

the thought hits you

that they were locked their until their death

cramping, starving. tears in their muscles.

experiencing impenetrable frustration. 

it dawns on you; another human deliberated this death

feel horror.

reassure yourself that it’s fake.

they bound it after death.

soothe yourself with images of eucalypts.

 

The final six seconds

take in the image as a whole

six frames

glance at the skeleton for the last time.

remind yourself

you’re comfortable. you’re safe.

you can repress the discomfort you felt.

reassure yourself that it’s fake.

flick to the next image. 


Eleanor Malbon is a Canberran who, in between researching healthy equity and teaching classes on complex adaptive systems, writes and reads poetry.