Ava Shieferstein, a close friend of mine and talented photographer, also works with
point-and-shoot cameras. She is another person who I look to as an example of Girl, Departed
and her images as poor-departed images. The resolution is relatively low and she decisively aims
the camera at her subjects, unapologetically, as if they cannot see her. And sometimes, she
decisively aims the camera’s gaze at what seems like nothing; she sees the things that are
normally unseen. Her images do not take themselves seriously but do not sacrifice complexity to
show a viewer the small things we miss. The visuality she creates offers a way of seeing the
unseen; at first it is spectacular that she was able to capture the moment of synchronicity and
humor, and then a feeling of loneliness sets in. She was the only one around to see it happen. She
claims the unseen as mine. Her photos beg you to pay attention to what is hers: “the rare, the
obvious, and the unbelievable.”
She demands that a viewer consider those things when looking
at her photographic hierarchy. Her insistence on the value of the unseen, and her visual
codification of such demand, perhaps points to the site where she departed from and the state of
departure she has been in since. Her reality is unseen, and because of these documents, she
knows that the unseen is real.
Steyerl, “In Defense of the Poor Image”