“Burn This”

By: usermattw

Jan 07 2013

Tags: ,

Category: Men


Click here to see it larger.

Click here to see the back.

What it is:

Photo measuring 4 x 4.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Written on the back is:  This is a very dirty view, you must excuse it and burn it when you have seen it.  This I mean sincere.  Also, it is very bad to send you such a strange great view of myself.  Next time I hope to send you a clean little photo of myself.  I trust you that you will do which I pray you.  Thank you very much!  / Martin


My apologies to Lanford Wilson for stealing his title, but I thought it applied.  I probably would not have posted this photo if it weren’t for the amusing message on the back.  Our man Martin seems to have issues.  I’m delighted that Martin’s friend didn’t burn the photo as instructed.  It reminds me (on a much smaller scale, of course) of Max Brod ignoring Franz Kafka’s dying wishes to burn his manuscripts, with Brod publishing Kafka’s works instead.

14 comments on ““Burn This””

  1. One case of civil disobedience we can all be grateful for… Wonderful, Matt!

  2. Keeping it certainly tells a much more interesting story.

  3. I think it is a very interesting study and a welcome change from the usual “look at the camera” poses. Glad Martin’s friend did not follow instructions.

    • When I first started collecting, I focused on pictures of people looking directly at the camera, since I was captivated by the sense that they were looking at me across time. But I quickly dropped that in favor of pictures of people in general, since there’s some much more that’s interesting to look at.

  4. What a mysterious and interesting personal note on the back! Makes you wonder what sort of character this man was, if he was shy and introvert, or just wasn’t crazy about having his picture taken. Was this for his girl friend or wife? So many riddles and questions. Love this one!

    • Thanks, Jenna, glad you like it! I get the sense Martin was a little self-conscious and was being rather self-deprecating to whomever received this photo, the implication being that he wanted to make a good impression.

      • That makes perfect sense. He must have been hoping to make a good impression as you said. That message still makes me smile though. 🙂

      • It makes me smile, too. He sounds a little desperate for approval, but in a way I’m sure most of us can relate to on some level 🙂

  5. I just keep staring at the burnout, wondering what his hands were doing that he thought this such a scandalous photo.

    But I’ve come up with nothing. Perhaps he secretly wanted his friend to keep it, and for you to find it, and for us to ponder over it.

    Yeah. That’s it.

  6. great haircut! and all dressed up. The story is indeed strange.

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