SQUINT THE MIND’S EYE and the visual will give way to visions.  In time they will appear, the likenesses, or call them the invisible forms taking the visible as their medium.  Squint the mind’s eye and the surfaces will lift your sights from sight only.  The likenesses will bear you toward the core predicament:  to be in the world at all is not to be merely in a world of things, but already of meanings, but if to say the meanings, they can only be said comparatively, inferentially, by way of concatenated gesture.  Squint the mind’s eye and meaning is as meaning seems, feels like, makes happen.
When I set myself to photographing through the squinted mind’s eye—in northern Greece in early 2023—it was for the sake of looking into the Jewish nothing, what the Holocaust left to the first subsequent decades and generations, this world where I live.  I am loath to explain the likenesses I found, lest I explain them away.  It is better simply to show them, accompanied by a divining map and a single sentence acting as a meridian.
In Veria, the postwar city destroyed the ancient Jewish cemetery to create a sports complex, whose tombstone likenesses were beaten up fiberglass chairs for the witnesses, the spectators who will yet arrive to study the game, if not the loss.
In Thessaloniki, the fire of 1917 destroyed the august Talmud Torah synagogue as it did much of the world’s greatest Sephardic city, and the Modiano market that replaced it 1930 was itself remodeled completely in 2022, except for one small corridor, whose lamps suddenly presided over the prayers of earlier centuries.
In Xanthi, in the forsaken tobacco warehouse where the city’s 500 Jews were imprisoned before being sent to Treblinka—I found it, though it is unmarked, or more accurately, sits between that which is hypothetically markable and that which will be forever be uncontained in a mark—and it was the moss and the grasses of the water that the broken drain spouts did not channel that bade them forward, the disappeared.
Jason Francisco, 2024