Sophie Calle

Dear Sophie,

I’ve been following you digitally. I’ve watched numerous videos and interviews parsing your image and actions into cute, bite-size, intelligible parcels. I’ve read articles and bios with a plethora of words that unabashedly try to hold your identity captive in their tenuous grip: “Sophie Calle is a photographer, a conceptual artist, a writer.”

Yet, I wonder, “Is she a photographer? A writer? How do they know? Would you know? Would you, a woman who values the integrity of the enigma, the ephemera, and the exotica, agree to such diminutives? Does a woman, who hires a detective to follow her, know who she is?

In this fanmail letter to you, I assert I do not know you. Nor do I aspire to know you. Rather, I aspire to resemble you. Which means, I only have to presume to know you enough to approximate you. I do not wish to domesticate you through my knowledge. The attempt would not only be a shot in the dark, but it would also call to mind the absurdity and violence of shooting at all. To claim to know another is a presumptuous intrusion into another’s ever-changing experience. I honor you as utterly Other, with a peaceful, and somewhat gratifying, letter of fandom.

So, as with your pursuit of Henri B., I maintain enough distance from you to uphold a fantasy; a fantasy of who I imagine you to be, in order to be more of who I would like to be. By following you and contemplating you, I come more into being. Your elusiveness becomes the coordinates of my identity.

For this, I thank you.

With gratitude and respect,