Growing Up

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.

My sister Kiara looking out the window. I don’t know if she wishes she were outside or if she’s just curious. Bronx, NY, 2020.

My pictures hanging on my board.

My mother was also a photographer. She used to buy disposable cameras and we have an album. I don’t remember much of my childhood so it’s nice to be able to have something tangible.

Kiara’s sandal. Her items are always scattered around the room. Bronx, NY. 2020. 

Kiara laying on my pillow. She is always so curious and wants to imitate what we do. She pretends to read my books, take pictures and talk on the phone. Bronx, NY, 2020.

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. 

A portrait of Raul. Bronx, NY, 2020.

Our relationship has always been rough. Always arguing or making fun of each other but always there for each other. People say we look very similar, I always deny it when I’m with him, but I know it’s true.

A portrait of Vivian. Bronx, NY, 2020.

Since we were little we called ourselves ‘best buddies.’ I love her with all my heart. She loves getting her picture taken. She is going to be a teenager soon, and I wish she would stay little.

Detail of the window with rain droplets on the glass. Bronx, NY, 2020.

I love everything about the rain. Whenever I hear it, I open up my window to smell the wet trees.

I like laying on the floor. It helps me think and if it’s quiet it helps me reflect. Bronx, NY, 2020.

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.

My sister is kissing my mother’s face. Kiara does not like to be away from my mother. She always cries in excitement when she gets home from work, and sometimes cries if she wakes up and doesn’t find her.

My sister looking out of the window. She likes seeing and hearing the rain. Bronx, NY, 2020.

A photo of Jesus. Faith has helped me get through quarantine, and our religious community has been a massive support. Bronx, NY, 2020.

My mother is braiding Vivian’s hair. Vivian loves getting dressed up and putting on makeup. Bronx, NY, 2020.

Kiara sitting inside of a cardboard box while playing with a toy school bus. Bronx, NY, 2020.

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.

A photo of my room window. I really miss being able to go outside. Bronx, NY, 2020.

A paper crane gift from a friend. Bronx, NY, 2020.

Kiara sleeping. Bronx, NY, 2020.

Lately, I’ve been appreciating little moments like this.

Using Format