Mother, Do me a favor and lock up the door. I feel myself getting too close to the storm. Our sorrows are getting too big to ignore. Please hold on for a little bit more. I promise tomorrow won’t be worse than before.
- Reynaldo Olivera
This project takes place in one environment. There is a small blue room with plastered-filled holes and nails scattered against the wall. A glass panel door, broken glass covered with wooden slabs. My mother’s bamboo and her vine that stretches along a wall. Pictures on the walls and toys on the floor, Kiara makes a mess and we pick it up. The air is filled with either laughter or cries. This room is our home, where we spend most of our day together talking, playing and taking care of each other. The room holds pieces of us, whether that be through pictures, books, toys or stuffed animals.
I spend everyday with my family at home, taking care of my two year old sister Kiara. When she was born, it took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting another sister, but her presence has been a blessing. She brought the family closer together. I feel a special responsibility towards her, since my step father couldn’t make it back from Guatemala. She is very friendly and always needs to be with someone she knows. She can’t sleep unless she feels someone next to her. She is obsessed with Peppa Pig now and occasionally makes a pig sound. Kiara is just learning to talk but seems to understand when we talk to her. I think she enjoys having all of us around and doesn’t understand the fact that we can’t go outside. I’ve always been intimidated by our fifteen year gap because it doesn’t allow me to bond with her the same way I have with my other siblings. I have to take a more parental role. I find myself correcting her and teaching her to help my mom.
As a photographer, the idea of creating a project centered around my life during quarantine was intimidating. I thought of ways to make an entire edit of photos about being stuck at home, without being repetitive. It was challenging to take pictures of a place so familiar and static. It’s hard to gain a new perspective of things you’ve been staring at for years. The quarantine made my days indistinguishable and idle. I was following an unpleasant schedule of waking up, finishing my work, and sleeping. At the start of quarantine, I didn’t see my creative potential reflected in my photos. Creativity grows from progress, but quarantine means being stuck. I believe our homes are great places to get out of the ever-changing world because they’re stable. I feel creativity isn’t stable. It’s like trying over and over until something phenomenal happens.
I decided to center my project around my family because being at home all day brought me closer to them. I am spending most of my day watching my little sister grow and play. My family has faced many challenges during the pandemic, and these photos contain a piece of my story. This has been an uncertain time but we are making it through. This is an exploration of my experience, it was challenging but it helped me.