BY SAÚL SOSNOWSKI
Zoraida Díaz subtitled The Altering Eye with an equally suggestive subtitle: “A Photographic Memory.” A description of a photographer’s coming into being? A memoir through some of the stunning images she shot at various locations? Reconstructed choice episodes of a life behind and in front of a lens?
I read Zoraida without any pretense to objectivity. I first met her as a newly arrived shy freshman at College Park. She was too talented drawing, writing, seeing between letters and glances, interpreting as no one else could what a story’s mood attempted to hide from most readers. Too restless to move from one course to another just to get a degree. Since she took off from Maryland (she thanks me for having sent her off to take her first pictures) we have kept up with a tradition that started with my saying “I’d like to see you when you turn 30.”
Zoraida’s altering eye is a gift to all who care to see, read, gain access to the intimacy she subtly unveils. Critics will focus on the scholarly references and the angles of each page and each photograph. Academic aptitude is a given. Beyond that, what continues to strike me is her ability to flesh out the rough humanity from a guerrilla’s struggle, from a child who holds a weapon instead of a toy or a book, from a father’s gaze that anticipates what will be revealed to all.
Many years ago, I told her that anyone who aims to hold her back, tied to a routine, to just one love or one place, failed to reach her core being. Through select images and her lettered intensity, The Altering Eye allows us to begin to know the woman who has forever learned who Zoraida is.