Photographic Dream Journal
As a photojournalist by trade, I often think about the role of photography in either supporting or pushing back against biases.
I believe empathy is endangered due to today’s politically- and technologically-driven world, and it’s important to analyze our relationships beyond biases that usually divide us. Sleep is an immediate connection to our subconscious, a territory we all occupy, and where our most honest, unhinged, emotions lie.
Using the subconscious as a common ground, this series re-creates my own dreams, as well as those that others have shared with me, in photographs. This work explores the human condition on its most universal level, and safeguards notions of empathy to push back against the biases that divide us in the waking world.
I stood on a scale for the first time in 3 months and at first it said 121.5 lbs, but then the number jumped up to 142 and finally fell on a middle ground at 135. Oh my. No more snacks before bed.
I stood on a scale and weighed 150 lbs, but I did not feel it at all.
My boyfriend, Mark, brought me a vase of my favorite flowers, Hydrangeas, for Valentine's Day on Friday, shortly before we went out dancing at the dirty basement club near my house. Three nights later, I found out that Mark had sex with a girl at the club while we were there together the other night. He actually paid her to fuck him in the bathroom. He wasn't trying to hide it from me. I was jealous and massively hurt. I tried screaming, telling him over and over and over again to get out of my house, but screaming felt like I had no voice and no air. I started throwing things at him, but that felt like throwing things through a pool of water— impossible. It was impossible for him to understand what I felt, as the sex meant nothing more to him than the cash he paid her. He was the only person I'd ever trusted to have a full life with me, and I had no desire for anyone else in my home, as my date, as my lifelong friend. To me, sex with a girl at the Dolphin was an act of betrayal and disinterest in me as a human being. To him, sex and love are separate, and I was the one who was at fault for being hurt. I kept telling myself to wake up, that the dream wasn't real, but I couldn’t open my eyes. When I finally did, I said, “I guess this is what vulnerability feels like”.
I went on a trip and the place I was staying was haunted. The door to my closet kept opening on its own. The door was brown and there were clothes both in and outside, hanging.
I was getting scanned by a metal detector and it showed that I had metal in my mouth. I didn’t know why, but then I remembered I was wearing my retainer.
My family was going on a hiking trip, but there wasn’t enough room for me on the bus. So I let Mom and Jenna take the bus.
Then it went missing and no one who took the bus was reachable so we concluded that the hikers on that bus were all dead— everyone looking for them thought they went over a mountain and off a cliff because they signed up for the challenging hike and it was in tall, alps-like mountains. It was so sad, I wanted to bring them back. I didn’t say anything nice to Jenna before I left— I didn’t hug her and tell her how much I love her. I took her for granted. I was so sad about Mom, but didn’t even have the mental capacity to process both of them. I was just thinking about how young Jenna was and what an excellent person she was whose life was cut way too short, and it broke me into a million pieces in a cold place where I felt alone even though there were so many people around.
I ran into Sydney Majowicz at a bowling alley party. There were a lot of people from high school there, but she was the only person I saw and talked to. She didn’t stop talking. She was trying to tell me how and where to travel. We ended up in this old little playhouse thing (looked similar to the Berenstein Bears house in Disney world except the lighting was really dim and fluorescent and the inside was not colorful and cheery— it was gray. It was also gray outside, not sunny and bright, but the grass was green and the house was pink and blue, I think) and she was trying to tell me how to travel around there. She just didn’t stop talking.
I ended up in the psych ward where a lot of my colleagues from college were. I think I was there because I had gotten angry at someone / something and that’s where they sent me. I had no idea what kind of program I was in or how long I would have to stay. So I was really scared and mean to everyone around me.
I was lying in this bed and Vrushabh was in a bed next to me. It was a flat bed and we were covered tightly in white sheets. I heard a lot of sizzling, and I felt bugs crawling across my head. They felt like rats. I looked at Vrushabh and said “what’s going across my face?!” And he said it was cockroaches. When I could finally sit up I saw a pile of them— big and small, on the floor. I crushed them.
Then Vrushabh was discharged. I didn’t know when I would get out and I was killing people— not just cockroaches. I was afraid the hospital staff would know and I had to find a way to get rid of my journals. And there was one guy, a nurse, who I don’t know from real life but I think I may have seen him in a coffee shop last week who I wanted to have sex with, but I just killed people and I couldn’t tell him about it so I couldn't bring myself to do anything with him. Later, I found out that (as long as the staff doesn't find out about the people I killed) I might get discharged 24 hours.
Only rule: no phones. I was running around naked in a fenced-in field next to cinder-block garage looking buildings and people were looking at me. There was a fence behind me and a cinder-block building in front of me. It almost looked like the concentration camp at Dachau, but there was grass on the ground. The fence was all silver so no one could see in or out, and it was built on a small grass hill. Being there made me crazier than I was when I got in. I was afraid of being raped. People were staring— men were staring.
I was sure Tasha hated me, and she was really cold to me, and then one day she gave all these love letters to people and I was one. We lived in an old, dark, house similar to Sasha’s, but much richer and grander than that. It had dark floors and colors. I found a note on my bed, but she came home before I could open it. She wrote 3 pages for me.
I found my journal at the camp where I stayed a few weeks ago. Then it was time to go to the dance, but since I was a counselor I had to shower last. After I showered I was putting my makeup on and I put eyeliner in my eyeball to color my eyes darker. I outlined the edge of the iris with my eyeliner brush— it worked like I was using the burn tool on photoshop. I just wanted the middle color to pop so I made the outline dark. I was working in a dirty bathroom with a skylight, but all I really saw was my eye being outlined in so many ways flashing before me. Then I painted lines on the whites of my eyes too— instead of making the lash line more defined, I put the lash line inside my eye.
I was hanging out in the car with a guy I went to high school with. He was on his way to run dogs for Wag and I was lying across his lap, topless. I was feeling torn between Philly and home. It felt like I have two lives.
I spent time in center city with friends. Two of which were Eamon and [Eamon’s look alike?] who were dressed in shorts with a striped button down tucked in and a black belt. Maybe high socks too. They were two people I hang with but didn’t know of each other, and we all met up and they were dressed exactly alike. It was Eamon and someone who looked like him (1’’ taller with red hair and a beard instead of brown). I think it may have been that guy, Nathan, from LA.
I was staying at Brian’s house and I was just raped. He gave me his grandpa-looking couch to sleep on and was there giving me food and water under the dim, golden window light.
I married someone very willingly and happily. I felt like he was the only person in my life. We were on a honeymoon in this hotel. All of a sudden I realized there’s so much more to life and I was like “oh shit how did I end up in this? How am I married? Didn’t I tell someone just a few days ago that I don’t want to be married for a long time? I’m such a hypocrite. Now I’m married. What about the person I actually love? I can never be with him now? I have to get out of this, but I made a promise-- to be married. I don’t want to be divorced, but I can’t be in this relationship. How do I get out?”
Mark has really long legs, so long that my head only comes up to his hips. It’s the first time I’ve seen him in a while, and I look up to him, both literally and figuratively. We are in a happy, grassy yard, at a picnic. There is green grass and red decorations. Also other people around, but I don’t know who they are. Maybe his family.
With Mom and Jenna walking on a road with no sidewalk where we witnessed kids a triple school bus accident and a shooting. One man who was an old cop not dressed in uniform was mocking me because I couldn’t do anything to help and said the press was awful. I lied and said I’m a nurse. Then we took the train to Temple and I got out but was afraid of getting hit and afraid to go home.
Vrushabh, Laura, Alex in a dark, weird basement with red lights and green slimy water. Dark. Stairwell. We are in high school and drunk, trying to hide our drinking from elders. Laura is like Mady was in high school— I’m trying to protect her. She also keeps running off for Reed, which is how I end up hanging with Vrushabh at a club. Alex doesn’t believe I drink now, and Vrushabh is the one who forgets the nights with me. I have a crush on him.