No Vivo de Recuerdos


I remember when I was younger my mom and I would sit down on the living room floor and rummage through boxes of family pictures. We looked for portraits of my grandparents and other family members who lived far from us. I liked to ask questions about who everyone was, even if I already knew the answer. My mom always responded with “no sé Arecis, no vivo de recuerdos.”  Once we chose the pictures we liked of them, we would then cut them out and paste them onto a family picture of me and my parents. It was always noticeable when someone was inserted into the image. The floating heads or missing arms always made our interventions obvious but, to us the thought of being together was what mattered. These collages would become our family portraits.

Family images are often used to look back on special occasions.  When looking at family pictures we take what we see as fact. However, a lot of what we remember isn’t true. So much happens outside of what's shown in an image. That's why I enjoy creating my own. I chose to explore these topics by collaborating with my parents and younger brother to composite and photograph what we hope we won’t forget. The process of making them is a mixture of desire and playfulness. In post-production I insert myself in a way where I can communicate through time and space.

 My grandpa left to go back home after my brothers first birthday party. I didn’t understand what that meant; back home. Why couldn’t my grandma come to us?
We visited during summer, always expecting to go back to them. But then time passed and my grandma left on a Sunday
Three months after, my grandpa followed her home.

“On Sunday” is a multimedia photo-based project that uses family images, family letters, and other memorabilia to explore the grieving process of the loss of my grandparents. Carmen Gonzalez died in June of 2021 and three months afterwards my grandfather, Panuncio Tiburcio passed away. He died just days after his 74th birthday in September, shortly after Sunday Mass.

In an effort to keep my grandparents alive I am using images to trigger memories from my parents. Stories from my parents' adolescence and my grandparents' life have become the source for places I have revisited and photographed. I used analog film and cameras as a way to connect and perhaps blend with the memories maintained by the pictures of our family albums.

“On Sunday” is a collection of new and old photographs, letters, and memorabilia. Some of these work as documents of past events and experiences while others have been altered to create memories I wished had happened. By adding and removing people and objects using processes such as digital alterations, solvent-based image transfers, and at times crude cutouts, I have created composites mixing reality and fiction to blur the realms of life and death. While these images both depict actual events and some that will never happen, they hope at keeping my grandparents still alive with me as I live without them physically here.