A True Snapshot

This seems to be a snapshot—there’s no apparent artifice, although it is a familiar image. It is much like many a Renaissance painting, celebrating future, rejuvenation, and the promise signified by the Christ Child.

It is not only the image of the child, but also his mother and their depicted relationship which touch us with their universal symbolism. Sunlight falls on the child; we can almost hear the blessing of the minister, the rabbi, or the priest: “May the sun shine upon thee…” The window and the curtain provide the background. In the window, we see the sunlight illuminating the landscape. It may speak of the future, although the curtain cuts part of our view as if to tantalize us with ambiguity.

The broad areas of light and dark, the symbolic nature of the figures, and the unadorned directness of the image seem to speak to us of the future’s promise. This photograph’s simplicity, its soft focus—to wit, its very snapshot quality—likely fit the photographer’s intent in conveying universal emotions and perceptions.

What ever happened to this baby? He must be a great-grandparent by now. Has the caressing sunshine brought blessing to his life? We cannot speak of such things without personal knowledge, but we may all partake in the parents’ hope for their newborn child.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Simon