The Observer

In many instances I find myself wandering around a particular place without a sole purpose. Often times I am merely an observer more than someone who takes photos. I delight in the visual stimuli that surround me, but even more so of the totality of the experience - including the sounds, the feel and the smell of a place. Attempting to hide in an 'invisible cloak' that serve to prevent agitating a scene or the people who exist within the frame, I find myself gliding within that scene, being silent, and disappearing. This is how I work. It is much more of instinct than careful thought. I hide behind the scenes in the hope of not being obtrusive. I disappear so I can photograph effectively, at least according to my standards.

I've learned so much about how to be invisible... So much so that this disappearing act makes its way to my everyday life... Stares make me anxious. Attention makes me bewildered. When I walk alone and realize there are people who can easily see me from a pavement, it makes me uneasy.

Being alone is a refuge. I find comfort in disappearing. I disappear from my friends who genuinely care for me. For many of them, I am an absent entity. I dodge questions related to my travels, not wanting to share so much. For me, the photos will speak for me and for the experience I've had. Perhaps I am wrong to disconnect so much.

However, alone and wandering has made me capture photos that matter to me. Being alone has made me see things with a clear mind that seeks to explore perspectives and stories.

Behind the lens I become in tune with myself - engaging with the story happening in front of me. But in situations where I meet people, I struggle to participate in conversations. I struggle with this every time I meet people who I look up to and would like to get to know more. Only when people ask do I talk. I am often told that I am too quiet. I believe I give the wrong impression that I am stupid sometimes because I simply don't know what to say or if I say something, I do it the wrong way or simply am too nervous or anxious to think of a response. It is very disabling.

And yet behind the camera, I feel I can respond to the scene in a wink - connecting with my subjects and them responding to me. I would like to believe that my genuine connection with my subjects shows in the final images.

But how do I displace that into the conversations I have or to my friends? Does my camera now serve as a mask? A tool which I can use to hide and disappear?

All images Copyright © 2017-2020 by She Escobar, all rights reserved. Images may not be copied, downloaded, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission of She Escobar.