Photo by Nhat-Thi Vo

Photo by Nhat-Thi Vo

Focused Freedom

Contributor
School of Dentistry

This submission earned an honorable mention the photography category.

As I walked below the Golden Gate bridge along the chain-wire fence meant to keep me safe and out of the bridge-side slope, I looked up and saw this little cut out.

Was it a natural tear in the fence? Was it a deliberate cut made by another individual, possibly to create a foreground frame for their next photograph of the Golden Gate bridge?

Without caring for the original creation of this gap in the fence, I lifted my camera up to capture the San Francisco iconic bridge as it basks in the last golden rays of sunset. Revisiting this image now, weeks later, a new meaning dawns on me.

When given the choice to focus on the bridge or the wires barring me from entering, I naturally chose the beautiful, unhindered view of what’s on the other side of the fence and chose to blur out what’s right in front of me.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement context in our lives, it’s important to recognize the progress we want and the systemic barriers that prevent progress.

We expect and focus on freedom, but we can’t deny, ignore, and be silent about the issues blatantly staring back at us.

With broken supply chains, health disparities, systemic racism, police brutality, immigration and refugee camps, and an unreliable media at the forefront, how can we get to “freedom” on the other side of this fence?

We need to change our focus.