Duane Michals’ “This Photograph is My Proof”

This Photograph is My Proof, 1974
© Duane Michals

I’ve always been moved by this pairing of text and image by Duane Michals. Below the photograph it reads,

This photograph is my proof. There was that afternoon, when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It did happen, she did love me. Look see for yourself!

Click here to view the image larger.


  • Daniel Espeset

    This has always been one of my favorites. I saw an incredible lecture by Michaels when I was about 16 and it really affected my growing interest in photography. I’ve always been amazed at the genuineness of his work. Always deeply personal but in such a way that avoids alienating the viewer or becoming saccharine.

  • Lane

    This image always got to me, too, but it’s been a while since I’d seen it. And this time, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

  • dR

    Moving indeed… I have never seen this, hit me like a ton of bricks too.

  • This photograph is awesome, it’s so real, like one can reach out and touch it. It is life, a revealing moment etched in time, forever. I think Duane Michals is my kindred spirit. 20 yrs ago, I saw a poem, I clipped it from a newspaper or magazine. “All things mellow in the mind.” It had no author that I knew of, I just loved it. Over the years, I lost it, but kept trying to find it. I joined a literature forum and one person out of 83 hits knew who wrote it, Duane Michals. 5 years ago, I found “Definition of a Photograph,” by Duane Michals. I wrote these words in my address book and have carried them with me for 5 years. I just found out two weeks ago that Duane Michals is the author of both pieces. I never knew he was one in the same, until two weeks ago. To borrow from one of his lines. How can this mystery be explained.

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  • ingrid

    Duane Michals is one of my favorite photographers. Everyone of his photographs tugs at my heart strings. Especially this one. It so simple and harmonic.

    I was jealous that my friend got to meet him.

  • Heather Wright Boesch

    In 1966, Duane MIchals said, “Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be”. I believe “This Photograph is My Proof” is the visual manifestation of these words. What we see-a happy couple, and what we understand-they are no longer together, is painful for the viewer…even as Michal’s insists, “It did happen, she did love me!”

    We know that the disconnect is real, despite the desperate words at the end.

    In this way, Michals cleverly plays with viewers’ ideas of what is real and reminds us that it is always slipping from our grasp.

  • pamela

    where can I purchase a copy of the duane michals print of ‘this is my proof’?

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  • One of my favorites from Duane.

  • Alex Remington

    I was looking for images of Michals’ photo: The Unfotunate Man and found this.

    This. This heartbreaking piece.

    Let it be known I am not a fan of photography but seeing this picture, hit the crack in my heart a little bit more. This is MY Proof that she loved me, at one point she did I know it! It’s just the story here, the now one sided love hits home.
    Even in through his pen, I can find the urgency to believe this. The will to go back to the past, the way things were.

    Have I said this before? This picture is, heartbreaking.

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  • Jane


  • Mark

    I love this particular photo. It reminds me of my own sad life. Duane Michals has always been one of my favorite photographers.

  • Anonymous

    Duane Michals is an inspiration, his poems are so beautiful, and this photo is perfect, my favourite of his.

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