Foolish fashion with foolish virgin

At arm’s length, she looked like this

Library of Congress, Contrast and detail adjusted. Date of record: May 28, 1910.

because of this.

New York Tribune, page 11

On the same day she stood in a studio to be recorded as what she was, the economic engine that had powered printing press and camera published these instructions for interpreting her image with its text. At the heart of their grammar was a doom. One of its authorities was the New Testament and two of its kernel sentences were “She must possess if she hopes” and “None can achieve.”

And off the record, her throat was beginning to grow corded. If she had been able to take off the deathcap for an instant and let her readers see her hands begin to unclench and her hair flow and the studio’s light reverberate in her eyes, the text about her would have been unreadable then but knowable now. What we might have experienced was a general beauty, not fashioned to be read but created to be seen: Eve-naked, antipodal to the dark side of time.

But the lamps in the engine room had not been trimmed. In the studio log’s archival black and white, the foolish virgin’s face communicates nothing about the color that might have shone from her eyes. But it does confirm that the devils who fashioned her mode were blue.