Laurel Nakadate
[Video artist and photographer, b. 1975, Austin, Texas, lives in New York.]

 Although I get a lot of ideas from things that have happened in my life, I see the final product as a place where my imagination meets my experience. What I love about photography is that nothing is really as it seems. 
 Sometimes, photographs live in our hearts as unborn ghosts and we survive not because their shadows find permanence there, but because that thing that is larger than us, larger than the things we can point to, remember and claim, escorts us from dark into light... 
 I believe photography is about choosing to live, being brave. Looking is an act of courage. It’s terrifying. It’s possible to see too much, to witness things that we cannot hold. 
 Humans like to look. I think that voyeurism and exploitation are often used in the same sentence. But, in my opinion, voyeurism is a beautiful and delightful thing. There is nothing more intimate than really looking at someone. 
 Photography has saved my life, over and over again. 
 I would take this bus from Harvard Square that picked up Harvard and MIT boys... It was called the Fuck Bus. I’d ride the Fuck Bus with a bunch of eighteen-year-old boys, and I’d have my camera and my video camera... Essentially, for four years I watched girls get really drunk on their parents’ dollar and take off their clothes for visiting boys and professors. I watched the whole thing, and that’s where I got my start taking pictures, I guess. 
 [Photography] ties back into this feeling of wanting to watch things fall and the moment before they break. Fireworks are that way for me—this lovely thing that blows up and is gone. It all goes back to this desire to record things before they disappear—the original reason we take pictures, right?