By Khadija Azhar

I don’t enjoy being visible. The vulnerability in being seen, in taking up space among other people, feels unnerving. My friends think that’s irrational, and I agree; strangers on the streets have places to be, and things to do. They’re probably not looking at me.

Funnily enough though, it’s not the fact of being looked at that unnerves me, but just the fact that I exist. I occupy space, and in doing so, I am visible.

Which is why, in many ways, taking pictures feels like an act of hypocrisy. I force my gaze on unsuspecting strangers and spaces, immortalizing them in photos they will probably (read: most definitely) never see.

But it is also an act of acknowledgement. When I see people existing, occupying space, it’s almost like they’re giving me permission to do the same.