January 3, 2024

Don’t take photos of the landscape; take portraits with the view of the background if you want

By Sara Camhaji

Sara Camhaji’s Don’t take photos of the landscape; take portraits with the view of the background if you want is more than a book; it is a literary artifact of an orphaned (and eternal) childhood, intricately sketched and blurred across its pages in many genres: family photographs, lyric poems, made-up dictionary entries, and intimate nonfiction vignettes. This meticulously crafted, limited edition print provides a reading experience that transcends mere emotion, offering an almost ineffable aesthetic experience: “While the jasmine is held by its bush, you won’t perceive its fragrance.” Immerse yourself in the world of Don’t take photos of the landscape…and embark on a sensory journey where every page is an eloquent brushstroke on the canvas of memory and loss.

About the Author

Sara Camhaji is a writer, teacher, and mother who lives in Mexico City. Her work is a natural response to her lived experience and the emotional dimensions she has inhabited. She has told and written stories her entire life. Poetry—the axis of her exploration—has prompted her to develop new discursive forms in close contact with inner human reality; wrenching, they open themselves to embodiment and appropriation. She has a master’s in creative writing, two children, and two published works: Maleza (Alboroto Ediciones, 2022) and Don’t take photos of the landscape; take portraits with the view of the background if you want (Elefanta Editorial, 2023), both in Spanish and English. A selection of her poems appeared in the UNAM’s Periódico de Poesía and different literary supplements. She received a grant from Asylum Arts in 2017 and was awarded the Peleh Fund arts residency in Berkeley, California in 2023. Sara writes in the voice of an archive with a voice of its own, like a thinking time machine, or from the dark sincerity of she-who-didn’t-know-she-had-to-live.

Robin Myers is a poet, translator, essayist, and 2023 NEA Translation Fellow. Her latest translations include The Law of Conservation by Mariana Spada (Deep Vellum Publishing), Bariloche by Andrés Neuman (Open Letter Books), and In Vitro by Isabel Zapata (Coffee House Press). As a poet, she was included in the 2022 Best American Poetry anthology.