Finding Comfort in the Abandoned


This article was originally published in January 2017.

I’ve often wondered… What makes the cellphone such an attractive device to tell stories? Beyond the obvious reasons, I wasn’t able to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. And so, I decided to look at myself. Some of my favourite photographs are of the mundane, devoid of any human presence. On the rare occasion where I have included some form of life, it has been that of a horse or a stray. Their presence has always comforted me, and I have found reassurance in their ability of unconditional love. Otherwise, my visuals come from dilapidated structures and castaways. It is strange how I continue to be drawn to an old rusted bicycle, lodged against an abandoned wall, located close to where I live. It’s even stranger that I don’t quite know why I continue to visit it, like an old friend. But during each of these encounters, my phone has always been with me, and I’d make sure to record a snippet of its life, as if it were its last day. As I continued to look at the photographs, I discovered what I was running away from; the chaos that I had once loved and come to enjoy, had now turned into a deafening noise. It was slowly taking away bits and pieces of me. That’s when I discovered the answer. The cellphone is my personal diary. I have found solace in it, in the act of documenting the various snippets of my silent encounters. My cellphone does not judge who I am. It lets me be who I need to be with myself and gives me the freedom of choosing who I am with others. It allows me to escape when I need to. Could this be the reason why the cellphone has become such a personal device… Because it protects all of my identities, and allows me to switch and slip in between? This, to me, is the best quality of the cellphone; one that I hope continues to prevail above the addictive, deceptive and meaningless imagery that threatens to take over.

Tags: Perspective, better photography, Conchita Fernandes, cellphone photography, opinion, Edit note, November 2016