Why does Dee take so many pictures?
In some respects, Dee takes so many pictures as a way to reflect her fundamental disconnect with her home. Dee detests her home. Such a sentiment caused her to leave in the first place. When she arrives at the house, she does not approach it as a homecoming. Rather, she approaches it as a tourist, in an almost kitsch type of demeanor:
Out she peeks next with a Polaroid. She stoops down quickly and lines up picture after picture of me sitting there in front of the house with Maggie cowering behind me. She never takes a shot without making sure the house is included. When a cow comes nibbling around the edge of the yard she snaps it and me and Maggie and the house.
Dee takes pictures as a way to communicate the disconnect from her mother and sister. This is heightened with her name change. The sense of awkwardness is communicated by her taking of so many pictures upon arriving.
Another reason why Dee takes so many pictures is to collect items for her cultural reclamation project. This sentiment is why she wants the butter churn as well as the quilts. Dee's photographs are reflective of her desire to collect objects or possessions that reflect cultural identity. Interestingly enough, Dee views cultural identity in a general and broad sense. Dee still reflects a level of disconnect with the immediate culture of her mother, sister, and her home background. Dee is more concerned with fulfilling the particular expectations of cultural expression. Her initial pictures reflect this. Dee's understanding of cultural identity is a way to create distance between the intimate culture of her background that she has never been able to appropriate. Taking possessions and pictures of it is the closest she can get to it.