Mowgli: A mysterious image

We cannot tell if he is a child or a grown-up, we suppose it is a boy, we don’t know how tall he is, because nothing in the surroundings of varying foliage and ferns offers a scale by which to judge.

Where is he? Is he coming out of a forest? Has he ended up in a clearing? Next to a path?

Who is with him? Does he have parents? Who gave him the rags he wears?

Nor do we know if he is afraid or unhappy; the expression on his handsome face, clearly outlined, remains mysterious. He seems to be dazzled, as though the light hurt his eyes. He places his almost claw-like hands upon his muscular thighs.

I don’t know why Marc chose this photo for me but I am happy of his choice. When he gave me this large photo, inscribed, “This young Mowgli, Martine, will watch over you”, Marc explained to me that the boy had never seen a white man, nor, of course, a camera.

Basically, everyone is even: he does not know who we are and we do not know who he is. And Marc, no doubt, had never seen someone who had never seen a white man!

Martine d’Astier