My great aunt was an enthusiastic amateur photographer who loved to take photographs of everything and everyone around her. When she died, I inherited her huge collection. One rainy afternoon, I sat down with the box of photographs and sorted through them. There were photographs of the family, smiling into the camera as they ate, or traveled, or simply relaxed at home; there were photographs of her only son who had died at the age of 21, leaving her bereft in a way she would never recover from; there were photographs of her husband sitting proudly in his car, or fiddling with radios (his obsession).

I was charmed by the deep dive into my extended family’s past. But I couldn’t help noticing: There were no photographs of her, at all. Not with her husband, not with her son, and not with her extended family. She had been so busy documenting her world, but hadn’t found space in it for herself.

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