I don't have photos of myself when I was a child. Not with my parents, not with my
brothers and sisters. Nothing. I don't recall my face as a child. One day it hit me: I didn't
remember my childhood because of the lack of visual memoirs. This realization came with
an emotional avalanche - Had I not been important to my parents? Why didn't they
photograph me? Didn't they realize that photos were important to build up the family
history? Was this emblematic of a disassociated family? I concluded that I didn't really
exist, I was a ghost to my parents, I was not documented I didn't have a history.
The pain that overtook me was unbearable. I had managed to block out my childhood
almost completely, and with this realization my childhood came back to haunt me. What
should I do with these newfound feelings I had to react. I had to create.
I came up with a plan. If I didn't have a childhood album I could create one. With this
action I started a process of reconstructing my history. I started asking friends and family
to lend me their childhood photos. Amongst them, I chose some that represented
situations I had also experienced. But, since I was to recreate my memories, I decided that I
could also create the experiences I would have wanted to have as a child, but didn't. I
could have it all!
I took portraits of my face with different expressions that would be appropriate with the
situations depicted in the memoir photos. I used my adult face, the face that I always
remembered, the face that I saw in the mirror every day, the only face I can recall. I then
inserted my adult face into the childhood photos of my dreams and created my
Using as a base someone else's memories has enlarged my emotional dimension, not only
to create my own memories but to recall the ones of a loved one. With this series I began
to explore emotional healing processes through photography.
Ana De Orbegoso
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