On another level, Jacobo welcomed the attention. Sometimes he visited in the darkroom while Alex printed pictures from their hours together. He liked to stare into the developer bath and watch his likeness form under the red light. “Oh, what a handsome man,” he’d say. “Where do you find such a handsome man around here?” And he would study his image with a kind of detachment, as though it surprised him the image was his own.
Jacobo was no egotist, but he could see that the photographs spoke strongly of him, of his work and his place. He took satisfaction in participating in that statement, and maybe, in his private thoughts, he saw it as a legacy. When a print went into the waste can, as many inevitably did, he’d bid it a mournful, self-mocking good-bye: “There goes poor Jacobo. Maybe we don’t see that old man again. Pretty nice man they say, but he’s gone now.”