Invisibility—What Is It and How Does It Feel?

In February 2024, Accompagnateur Workshops began a program with the Phipps Neighborhoods in the South Bronx. This photography workshop, in which the participants take portraits of one another as well as photograph their surroundings, apartments, family members, and neighborhood over four sessions held over four weeks, was organized around the concept of invisibility.

Society calls the participants, who all live in the Phipps Neighborhoods, and so many like them, “marginalized people.” In a very real sense, this definition robs them of their uniqueness and intrinsic value as human beings.

How appropriate, then, and how necessary, for a program to make them visible, both to themselves and to others. What a community was built, even over such a short time! The workshop put them at the center, not on the fringes where the wider society demands they stay. In only four sessions, both the creative act of photography and the circle work, talking about the photographs and the person in them by both the subject and the photographer, revealed and illuminated new aspects of each participant’s visibility and innate creativity.

In life, we feel visible and invisible.

We prim and pose for the camera, hoping to capture our visibility in freeze frame and capture our memories on film.

We feel invisible when we hide ourselves from the camera in the silence of passing life, marching towards the unknown.

According to the invisible, we constantly reaffirm our beauty and worth, as the camera exposes our outer beauty layered among the petals of our inner soul.