A family story carries more than what we can remember. It’s made of our ancestry, our unconscious memories, our apparently ordinary present, the dreams and hopes we nourish for our successors, the ones who will remain to continue our story. It’s hard to know where it began and where it will end.
Many people say that we do not choose family. But many believe that we do it accurately, in another dimension.
Whatever we believe in, few would deny the "weight" of family in their lives. For better or worse reasons, we carry it for a lifetime, maybe for several lifes, more or less in the heart, or more or less on our back.
As far back as I can go, I find my “beginning” in my grandmother.
She has an unusual name - Imponina. I always thought Imponina comes from “Imponente” (in portuguese). Someone who imposes. In her case, a sweet soul that life tried, but failed, to embitter. Someone who imposed to live a happy life, even carrying the weight of a difficult start.
She built a huge and united family, and lived a long and happy marriage. Spoiled her daughters, her sons in law, and many grandchildren, always with unconditional love.
In her small, simple house I lived a happy childhood, making the most out of less, and that’s an important part of who I became.
Today, this family no longer shares the union of those times. Some are far away, others live close but apart, for reasons that don’t matter anymore, now that the years have passed.
My grandfather died recently, but Imponina wants to stay in their home, as long as she can, even being on her own. She is nurtured by her daughters but no longer can join them all at once, as before. Grandchildren followed their lives away, don’t get together anymore, and visit her occasionally.
The house is empty of people. But full of memories.
And I decided to photograph the house, Imponina and our memories. I want it to last forever, not only in my mind but also in my photographs.
For this project it is only me, her, my camera and a tripod. In our "agreement" I also committed to organize and safeguard all the photographs, postcards and letters she has tossed in a box for all her life. A box that holds all her / our, family stories.
I am not sure about this photography project’s name, but so far I like to call it “a journey back in time”.