Athena Intanate: Love is a Lamp-Lit Room

Photo: Atena Intanate, Copyright 2020

Photography and Text by Athena Intanate, Copyright 2020


Love is a Lamp-Lit Room


I never particularly liked my dorm room until I started putting up my photographs in it. Its yellowed cinder block walls are sticky with age, and the carpeted floor is in dire need of a deep clean. My bed’s propped next to the wall with a gaping one foot gap, unable to be bridged because of an oddly situated pillar jutting out from the corner. But just like any new place, I needed more than to simply occupy that irregularly cuboidal space. I needed to make it mine, in order to make it a place I desired to be. 

Bedrooms are very private spaces, where we are allowed to feel all our emotions in their completeness. We sleep there, we dream there, but we cry, think, and laugh there too. University has been daunting and breathtaking to experience all at the same time, and if my bedroom was a person it has been the one that has comforted me most. There is sadness and despair, that is undeniable, but they are sutured in such close proximity to happiness and love that the fluidity that exists between each individual emotion amalgamates them. This is why I had one protagonist situated in one room – to represent the ever-changing nature of how we feel. ‘Love is a Lamp-Lit Room’ is, if anything, a self-portrait of how I navigate this turbulence. 

There exists a certain shard of despair in needing to get up and go to work at 5am five times a week, as I do. I fumble in the dimness, struggling to tie the laces of my shoes.

After eight hours of shifts on top of four hours of class, sometimes I am rendered exhausted, emotionally drained. All I want to do is curl up and bask in silence. 

Is the selfie a mark of vanity? Or is it a sign of self-love?

Happiness can be found in people, but also the things that I loved doing in the past. Reading has become conflated with homework, but can it bring happiness too? 

These were all thoughts that swirled around in my head as I attempted to reconstruct my own narrative into 35 frames. 

But at the end of the day my room is loved, as am I. I am enfolded in softness – the yellow glow from my bed-side lamp reminds me so.


Portrait of Athena Intanate by Cindy Ji, Copyright 2020


About the Author: Athena Intanate is a freshman enrolled at Haverford College, Class of 2023.

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