Hank Williams (born this day in 1923) and his first wife, Audrey Sheppard, 1948.
I've been haunted by this image since the first time I saw it. That's the weird magic of pictures--this is literally something that happened for one second in Montgomery, Alabama 65 years ago; for all I know the two figures in the photo were having the time of their lives. They could be at a party, surrounded by dozens of friends and family. At least one other person--the photographer--is there. It could be bright June, the sky blue and limitless above them, their lives and their future wide open.
That may be true. I suppose I'd like it to be. But instead we have this strange tableaux, this schism, this one second when one person turns away from the camera, his body curved like the long f-hole in a guitar, his face hidden. The woman to his right isn't turned, but she stands, her head down, her hands pressed over her eyes, as if to ward off some impending doom. There is nothing in the photo to suggest anything but an almost paralyzing despair.
They are there, the two of them, in this photo, in 1948, and the longer I look at it the more I'm convinced I will never get to the bottom of the image. It is a boundless mystery.
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