A Visual Analysis of Sierra Faye’s ‘Comfort in the Undiscovered' (2011)
Published in the Outlier Chapbook by Hawai‘i Review 88. 2018. 1-7. click to go to journal website
This essay looks at how Sierra Faye's Photograph, "Comfort in the Undiscovered" (2011), demonstrates hyper-visibility with the use of black paste covering the model's skin. The black paste, applied in layers, prevents the view of the subject's authentic skin. In my reading, the paste represents the blackness that gets constructed in white imaginations. White power then imposes that imagination on to black subjects.
With the help of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) and bell hooks’ Black Looks (1992), I discuss how Faye's photograph shows how white gazes distort the views of Black women and femmes, making it so that we cannot be fully seen.