There is an inherent power to photography. To be able to capture light, as it existed in a fleeting moment, forever, is powerful. This power can obviously be used for a massive variety of things. For good, and for evil, and for neutrality, and to remember, and to forget. Images can hold dignity. They can point out societal flaws, and community togetherness.
Recently, I’ve been thinking more about how to weaponize my photography. This past week in particular with the nice weather we’ve been having in Philadelphia, I’ve been thinking about how to weaponize photography against those who attempt to threaten me. Those who catcall, touch me as I walk past, yell at me when I ignore them. The men who walk up to my car window when it’s down, who look right at my chest nearly drooling over my beautiful, glorious healthy body. A body that is not theirs to appreciate.
While walking in my favorite park this week, I was cat called and followed 10 feet by some grody men. My dignity, my safety, the fresh air, was gone. And in that moment, I wanted nothing more than to steal all that from them. To pull the concrete out from under them, to turn 10 feet tall and beat them to a pulp. But I can’t fight, and i don’t have time for this. But I did realize while walking away with a small Fuji 35mm focus free, that I could photograph them, and steal their dignity right back. Post these photos around the neighborhood, online, instagram, send them to my friends. The possibilities were endless.
And since then, that Fuji focus free has not left my side. It’s a really lovely thing to have just for images around the city, and of friends and loved ones, but it somehow someway makes me feel a bit safer knowing I can beat them at their own game. My image fleeting to their snake eyes, theirs on display captured by light for the world to see, picking apart their asshole image for eternity.