chapter  8
Ere the substance fade: photography and hair jewellery: Geoffrey Batchen
WithGEOFFREY BATCHEN
Pages 18

A locket lies here in my hand, coldly at fi rst, and then gradually warming as it absorbs and begins to return my own body heat. Its bronze surfaces are articulated with incised patterns, a combination of star and fl eur-de-lis on one side and an abstracted open fl ower on the other. Designed to be touched, this object touches back, casually grazing the pores of my skin with its textured surfaces. In this mutual stroking of the fl esh, object and image come together as one; I behold the thingness of the visual, the tooth of its grain, even as I encounter the visuality of the tactile, the piercing force of its perception. Already, then, a number of my senses have been engaged. For this is an object that has both an inside and an outside, and to be fully experienced it must be handled as well as looked at. A small button on the top of the locket, perhaps a remnant of the watch that it once contained, invites me to press down. When I do, the two halves of the locket spring apart. Opening to an angle of ninety degrees, this mechanism adds an extra geometry to the locket’s original circular form and reveals an interior to my gaze for the fi rst time. Suddenly I am made aware that this thing in my hand is in fact a photographic object. On one side of the interior lies a portrait of an elderly man, in the form of a circular tintype behind glass. On the other, also behind glass, is a small clipping of human hair (Figure 8.1).