Something happened between frame 2 and 3 in the movie that my father took of my brother Mike. Mike is autistic, low functioning and has never spoken. He often would bite his hand and slap his head. I think he did this out of frustration, but that’s just a guess.
Here is the third frame of Dad’s movie:
Mike is a blur. He must have been in motion. However, the photograph also works as a portrait of a motionless individual who is beyond understanding.
I learned something during my process of rendering this snapshot in watercolor. Working with the understanding that Mike was in motion at the time the film was exposed, it is difficult to decipher the features on the left side of the face. However, I noticed that the sleeve of Mike’s shirt on the left side of the photo, seems to be empty. Motion could account for that effect. I came up with a theory that could account for the empty sleeve plus the facial distortion: Mike was in the act of slapping his face. Granted, this is not an obvious conclusion, but it does make sense.
Even though the first two frames of the film were low resolution, they conveyed understandable emotion. The final frame however was much more ambiguous. It allowed me to paint a portrait of what I imagined to be happening.