The text tells us this is Venice, or more precisely Giudecca, but what we see is an empty arcade, a distant tower, and the long shadow of the photographer. It is a scene with an understated surrealism, like a painting of de Chirico, but both photo and adjacent text are by Teju Cole. Giudecca, writes Cole, means ‘“Jewry,” though there’s no proof a Jewish community ever lived here’. In the act of scanning the photo’s negative, however, this absence takes on a different meaning. ‘I get an unexpected text message from A,’ the text continues, ‘who is a doctor: “One of my patients is a holocaust survivor. 93 years old. Still has PTSD and screams at night”.’
Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR. We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, click 'Sign In' in the top left-hand corner of the screen. If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.