Sarah Farrar discusses this curiously ‘empty’ photograph.
<P>This recording was created for Te Papa’s in-gallery audio tour.</P>
<P>Ben Cauchi’s photograph of an interior wall is very nearly a photograph of nothing: a depiction of a skirting board, a featureless floor, and a strongly patterned wallpaper in what seems to be an older house. None of these are very interesting in themselves. In fact, it seems as if the subject has departed the scene, leaving behind just a background.</P>
<P>This absence creates all sorts of associations. Is this a crime scene? What sort of life played out before this wall? And what happened to it? The halo of light – vaguely echoing the wallpaper pattern – seems like a ghostly afterglow of what was once present.</P>
<P>Cauchi has used a nineteenth-century process – the tintype – to make this photograph. This creates a connection with the past and reinforces the sense that the life that happened here was long ago.</P>