I feel numb. A certain photograph has been stuck in my head for about a week. It’s actually a frame from a video that I hope to never watch. It shows a police office kneeling with one knee pressed against the neck of a man on the ground. The man dies as a result. I can’t stop thinking about it. And I feel numb.
So much has been said. So much will be said. People smarter than I have discussed the power of images, how they can catalyze us to action, or reveal our indifference. What about images that terrorize, dehumanize, and traumatize? I can’t stop thinking about that image, and I feel numb.
During this global pandemic, I’ve been thinking about how the images I made during this time will reflect my state of mind. Years from now, when I look at the images I created, will I be able to see the anxiety, the fear, the disconnection, the connection, the sadness, the absence? Will I be able to sense the complexity of everything I felt during this time? Now, I wonder about the rage, the despair, and the resignation that comes from yet another horrific killing. I can’t stop thinking about it. I feel numb.
Let me end with these: an image I made on what would have been Ahmaud Arbery’s 26th birthday, and a video I captured on the day after George Floyd’s killing. May they (and all the countless others) rest in peace.
-Eyes wide open, Chinwe