At the photographer’s, you can get a portrait of your likeness after death, but the process is painstaking. A newly engaged couple once proved so hard to satisfy, the photographer had to continue the shoot the following day. Finally, at closing time he’d managed to position them, and the light, the mark of such photography, was also perfect. He turned off the lamps, locked up the shop, and left the couple to stand in the studio overnight. ‘I love you,’ whispered the girl in almost total darkness. Only a thin streak of light from the street lamps pierced the studio from the store front. ‘I love you too,’ replied her fiancé, ‘but stand still now and look right into the camera.’

by Carsten René Nielsen

‘Photography’ is copyright © Carsten René Nielsen, 2011. It is reprinted from House Inspections (BOA Editions, 2011), which was translated with an Introduction by David Keplinger and published by BOA Editions in 2011.

Notes from BOA Editions:

Born in 1966, Carsten René Nielsen is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Enogfyrre dyr (2005) and Husundersøgelser (2008). His book of selected prose poems, The World Cut Out with Crooked Scissors, was published in English by New Issues Poetry and Prose in 2007. His poetry has been featured in magazines in Italy, Germany, Canada, and the US. Nielsen lives in Aarhus, in Denmark. You can read more about Carsten René Nielsen at his website here, and find him on Facebook here.

David Keplinger, the translator of Nielsen’s work, has won a number of awards including the Colorado Book Award, Truman State University’s T.S. Eliot Prize, a NEA fellowship, and grants from the Danish Arts Council. He directs the MFA Program at American University in Washington, D.C. Find out more about him on this page.

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