inherently violent gaze of the camera onto her own likeness: resulting in an image of an identity
constructed out of similar violent processes. Assuming that the theoretical violence the camera,
or how it is capable of acting on her, is not at the forefront of her consciousness, she still has a
sense of it and knows that this violence is familiar and welcomed. Because of this familiarity
with the violence, the camera and its gaze become sites where she finds footing in this world.
The camera’s gaze is one of the only things that she has run into that acts in accordance with the
traumatic and dysfunctional logic that she has been taught and relies on: violence and fear. When
she begins to experiment with a camera, she uncovers one of the only viewpoints that tells her
she is not wrong or crazy; the camera offers her a world where violence can be her answer, a
world that she can function in, a world of photographs built for her. She attaches her visual
subjectivity to the camera’s gaze. Her gaze and the camera’s gaze become inextricably tied,
interchangeable, one in the same.
No one teaches girls. So, she does not learn the camera, but rather, she develops
alongside it; they are constantly informing each other. She doesn’t make the correct photograph;
she does it all wrong but she is never doing it for you. Her images that result from her gaze are
inherently an aesthetic departure from the worshipped image, the rich image, the male image, the
standard image, the beautiful image. Her images belong to the territory of the sub-standard,
abject, and rejected. Her images are not welcome nor warranted in the high culture present in art
institutions. Her accounts of her lived-experiences are met with abjection by others. What she
has been exposed to has infected her with an incurable disease that makes others sick. They do
not want to look at her. She is left feeling ugly, hardened, and thrown-away. What she garnered
from her developmental stages never prepared her to compete in high-brow arenas. She is unable