In the beginning they were just an irritation, like lens flare or a scratched negative.
But he began to see them everywhere in his footage, among the Beng trees of Cambodia, in the dust and scrub of the Golan Heights, studying the murals on the Falls Road.
His hands would shake in the sick red glow of the darkroom as he reached for his magnifier, searching the prints before they dried.
Always the same blond and dark heads, close as if in conversation, the arms round each other, feet in step. Sometimes they were blurred, distant, part hidden behind a lamp post or car, but always the swept back hair, the holiday smiles.
His editor laughed, said they were his signature, better than a monogram. He smiled, nodded, all the while wondering how he’d learn who they were.
Then one dank night driving home on the coast road, he found out.
Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its jumping off point. This week we are in Cardenas, Cuba.
My story is actually inspired by the Google Street View itself. You see, I kept seeing the same woman and child, in similar poses, arms round each other, presumably tagging along behind the camera operator. I just wondered what if they weren’t known by the photographer? What if their appearance was as much of a surprise to the person who took the images as it was to us?