When I had to go to my father’s empty house after he died, I knew I could only survive the experience if I released some of the pain through creating images. I sorted paperwork out during the mornings, shoot my feelings during the afternoons, and edited during the nights.
I only had a very modest laptop to edit the images so I made a deal with myself: I would shoot, edit and post the images to find release only if at a later stage I processed them properly. I did find comfort in sharing my raw creations during these days. I felt less alone and less hurt. Through the images I could not only grab my emotions and place them outside my body but also create something good out of them. Also people’s affections did hold me tight through my journey.
Although my work is personal and intimate, frequently, I do protect myself in my own particular ways, you may not see them, but I feel them. So on the occasions that I don’t, that I am plain transparent and out there, naked, I feel vertigo and fear. And yet those are the times that I have been more intensively contained and held by those reached by my work.
I left the images I shot at my dad’s be there for months, untouched, unseen. Maybe did I fear to visit them and feel the same despair. But there was one that particularly haunted me because it maybe meant the most. I decided to properly edit it yesterday and it was too a dense and sad edition but I realized that my mood has changed and this I noticed in the edition. The image that was initially dense and heavy, clouded and obscure, unsharp and pastel tinted became somewhat crispy and shinny.
Loved it but. But both images seemed to mean different things. I ended up with 4 versions of the image, in a sort of negotiation with myself.
A thrid that was new but faithful to its origins
and a forth that was more like the original but finely edited (meaning it could be printed )
And so I got stuck. What was now the good image?
One friend that was with me during this process believed that the original was the sole one and only. Mostly because it captured all the density and sadness. He also believes things happen for a reason and maybe this peace of emotion should remain small and dense in its suffocating first version.
But I love my work, I love photography and art, and I owe it to myself to do the best I can. I only released the image I shot because I made this internal pact, that I actually made with myself years ago: “I can be as emotional and as passionate as I wish, as long as I aim reach the best of my capabilities, technically speaking, at any given time”.
I believe artists have to be proper technicians too. I believe we have aim better everyday.
So I had to re- edit it. Leaving it just like this was out of question. So how could I now choose amongst the 3 newer versions.
The image was accompanied by a text:
” Encontré la poesía en tu tejado. Cuando el viento se lleve tu olor y mis recuerdos quizá pueda buscarte en ella. “
” I found poetry in your house’s rooftop. When they wind will blow your smell and my memories away, maybe I’d find you there”
I really don’t know. My mood has changed. I don’t feel what I felt in that rooftop. I remember the emotions, and they are still true but I am not looking for my father these days. I am looking for poetry though, I am looking for me, not for him. So what version of this image should I consider to be the good one now?
There is no answer, at least none that I have come to find satisfying.
But as another friend said to me, answers do not matter, what matters are the questions. There might never be a good image or a good version of one image, maybe images do flow like time, poetry, butterflies and memories.