Text by: Anna Vaagland // Art by: Karla Guerrerro
Published: 19 November 2019
The meaning of family is a mystery, it is also a symbol of diverse interpretations in which memory plays the main role.
It all started when photographer Karla Guerrerro went through her grandfather's family archive. When making a selection of his photographs she tried to find her own identity through his past. She questioned the private and the intimate, and juxtaposed the original images along with medical documents related to a brain damage he suffered in 2006. Jorge is a phase of experimentation and represents a new imaginary, telling the unknown and the unpredictability of what family can be.
"The brevity of time and the inexorable advance of man towards death. Every possible paradise must consist of the return to a previous life".
Enrique L. Castellón
Some of your earlier work includes series like Berta about your grandmother and My mom's flower shop about you and your moms relationship ; it seems that you often work with portraying your family in different ways – what drew you to this subject?
My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer and my grandfather suffered a brain-damage, so I was constantly debating with myself about the relationship between image-memory and how images are portrayed in family archives. Portraying my family is very personal, but seeing how other people also feel a connection with these images it becomes bigger than me.
I guess my first relation with photography at all was through my grandfathers images, he wasn't a professional but he really loved his polaroid camera.
How do you work as a photographer?
I work in a lot of different ways but I'm not the kind of photographer that scans and modifies, I want to preserve most of the elements and subjects. I like working with originals it has more value for me, rather than modifying copies. The images of Jorge are digitally manipulated but not too much, the series of my grandmother Berta, are the originals with manual manipulations.
All my photographic work and research are influenced by the vanguard of phenomenology in the behavior of the gaze, the interactions of oneself between objects, spatial explorations in experiences of transience and absence: memory, loss, and void. Even my family's series are pure personal experimentations, they are developed through this influence.