How Do You Photograph Lust?


Ema Dumitru


Photograph by Ema Dumitru

Duane Michals: The best part of us is not what we see, it’s what we feel. We are what we feel, not what we look at. That whole arena of one’s experience. Grief, loneliness. How do you photograph lust?

Slow burning afternoon darkness. I’d sleep all night with that on top of me. Black lace sorrow and burgundy red longing. Strangely, it gives me confidence.

Smooth, white-hot, and all-knowing. I can strip everything that doesn’t fit in my head just by walking around, raising magical dust, bursting capillaries.

Afternoon is a skin, and I appear in its dark centre like a patch of colour. Violet, blue, green, red, diluted with touch and remorse.

I like to pretend I am another woman. A whole life stuck up inside me like a photograph in a glass box.

Look and look again. Just so I can almost feel the past by sinking my finger into it. A site of loneliness. A secret underground architecture of lust.

The fact of loss. The fact of hunger. Each eying a rib or a thighbone.
Violet, blue, green, red, tenderly caressing the frame of my cage. Clean like forgetting.