in the subtle blue-purple glow that dissipates from a bright light caught on my Sony Cybershot. I
travel unassumingly because the size of the camera allows me visual accessibility into spaces
that I would not have access to if I were dawning a DSLR or large format film camera. My
explanation for why the camera’s gaze and Girl, Departed’s gaze are inseparably linked due to
similarity in our “own real conditions of existence”. Her and her camera compliment, overlap,
and affirm each other’s existence with every deployment. They become one and the images made
are emblematic of their shared existence. Her world that is built up by these documents of her
visuality is a reclamitory space of mine. The world outside denies her anything of her own: a
space of not mine. I feel as though when I photograph my surroundings now, that I can stake my
claim in anything I desire. I go out with a shopping list of what I need to get back for myself. My
departed-selves remind me of what I have lost and the camera shows me where I can find it. I go
to take a photo of how the light comes through the trees because it reminds me of going to the
Philadelphia Zoo when I was eight. I go to take a picture of a totaled car because that could have
been me. I take a picture of the pilots with flash because it is more important for me to remember
this than their comfort, and the pilots do not say anything to me. I am just a girl with a camera;
there is no way I would be doing anything exceptional with a picture of them. When I look at my
photos, I feel as though I “look directly at my life and my death.” If I can look at these images of
my reality, that serve as a symbols of the abuse I have endured (just as Goldin’s bruises serve to
reference her abuse she endured), “without flinching,” then the event of torture stops acting on
me in the way it always has. “I know there is nothing they can do to me again” if I have what is
These images give me the chance to take it back and know that I am real.
Lorde, The Cancer Journals.