It was such an exciting moment, an honour to have this man, ‘The Greatest’, in our living room, with a bunch of excited kids outside our apartment door, in a ball, pressed up, listening, waiting to see this great man. Perhaps that is part of the power that this photograph has over me. It was a moment of shared joy and excitement for our family, an extraordinary moment, which was a rare thing, glowing for a short while before being snatched away by the act of the cut. A reminder of what our family life was like in reality.
This photograph is both that moment and that moment being taken away. It is at once sweet and painful, whole and fragmented. It is a photograph of three events spanning time. The day Muhammad Ali came to tea; the day my father cut the photograph; and the day my mother glued it back together, shortly after my father’s death. This photograph shows us all together, yet split by a fault-line. Together and not together. Both/And, not Either/Or.
Salma Ahmad Caller explores the complexity of identity through her photograph of a photograph with Muhammad Ali.