Let me introduce three men
who wrote different letters to me: Dan Biferie from Florida, Shahidul
Alam from Bangladesh and E.R. Beardsley from California. In these letters
I found comments either about a father, or about their sons, which when
I first read them left me very emotional. I could only describe such letters
as myth shattering, the myth being that men do not talk -or write- about
intimate matters to other men. What also caught my attention was that
all those involved in these letters, either as protagonists, authors or
me, as recipient, are male figures.
These letters came from three photographers, and they arrived by way of
the Internet. Having first met through electronic means, all three of
these artists in time became my friends (they have yet to meet each other).
Another cliché that has been rendered transparent through this
correspondence is the notion that email is not the appropriate medium
to communicate content that matters.
I have always found that labels of any kind tend to distort perceptions
and true understanding of meanings. Sensitivity has been one of those
values that have been hijacked away from the male world, just as the understanding
of what email can be used for has been distorted to exclude the possibility
of human touch. Let us hope that this correspondence will provide you
with the evidence to think otherwise on both counts.
I thank the authors for giving us permission to reproduce these letters
as well as their accompanying photographs.