8 thoughts on “Forlorn.

  1. An interesting word, “forlorn”. From the Old English “for” meaning “completely” and “loesen” meaning “to lose”. So perhaps “completely lost” might be pretty literal. In more recent times it acquired the connotation of feeling abandoned, forsaken, and somewhat wretched. Matthew Arnold used the image (I think, perhaps in “Culture and Anarchy”, but I’m not sure) of a “soldier of a forlorn hope”. In the mid 19th Century he was closer to the now archaic meaning of a “forlorn hope” as the lead group of soldiers on a very dangerous assignment, like the first through breached fortress walls or to advance on some other heavily defended position, which gave it the connotation of bravery and a warrior spirit. I suspect Arnold used it to describe those who advanced liberal (which meant then something quite other than it does today) and progressive (ditto) cultural ideas.

    I’m not at all sure where this leads me as regards this image of your son with his long, wandered-away gaze except to add a layer of complication and contemplation. Perhaps there’s something about him (well, your images of him, since I’ve not met the lad) that strikes me as warranting the addition.

  2. The diagonally framed horizontal white stripe on your son’s jacket perpendicularly leads the eye to the long diagonal formed by a main urban thoroughfare’s white median stripe, which in turn underlines both the long parallel blur of individuals massed along the the far curb and the equally long and blurred several-storied (residential ?) building (or reiterative complex of such buildings). The blurred bus stop receives prominence from a perspective that visually juxtaposes it to your son’s face, but the dreariness of the weather and lack of visible traffic within a context of an extensive line of dressed-for-cold-weather people suggests they are not waiting for a bus; they are awaiting the arrival of paraders at this year’s Toronto Thanksgiving Day Parade. Your son’s vacant stare into space down along the street’s median stripe and the parallel blur of people and reiterative building(s) highlight your son’s sense of at least momentary complete isolation from the great reiterative mass of expectant humanity. Forlorn? Perhaps just plunged into Zen-like meditation? Perhaps the photographer is simply crafting his son’s vacant stare into a symbol of his own adult concept of ultimate human forlornness?

    1. frank james johnson wrote:

      Perhaps the photographer is simply crafting his son’s vacant stare into a symbol of his own adult concept of ultimate human forlornness?


      Thank you Frank, for your detailed response.


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