Some leave and some arrive. Memories are left behind as fragile images that tend to fade away. Then, there’s memories that change with time and mold themselves to new experiences. Yet, some remain untouched. Photographs store permanent trails of something or someone at a specific point in time. We keep family albums to hold on to memories of those we love. Family images trace our identity by looking back at previous generations to discover and strengthen bonds otherwise unnoticed. All families are full of stories, dramas, secrets, anecdotes, as well as traditions and changes. We might not have control with who we share our life, or we may not control those who leave us. However, we do have control of deciding how to spend the time with those present in our lives.
I was born in a big family living in a small city at the northernmost corner of Chile. Indeed, the ideal setting for a close relationship with my family including grandparents, uncles, aunts, and all of my cousins. Regardless if it was a holiday or a regular weekend, my house always found itself at the center of the attention and seemed to have been chosen as the gathering venue for the whole family. However, the inevitable change associated with the pass of time left its mark in our family. Some died, some grew apart, and we decided to leave the country. With time, it progressively seemed like the only interaction resembling those lively moments was taking place exclusively within my immediate family. My parents and my three siblings was all that remained from those memories. Yet again, little can be done to counteract the effects of time and we too must move on. The first one to leave our house was my oldest brother. Then, my youngest brother moved away to college, and then I left my parent’s house to trace my own journey, leaving behind a home full of memories, my youngest sister, and my parents.
My parent’s house, however, remains the enclave of family interaction and it becomes progressively a place of nostalgia as we carry on with our separate lives. Our bonds have matured and have adapted to our current lifestyles. While self-accomplishment, independence, and growth have taken a toll in our family interaction, individuality can still be fostered within a resilient family core whose filial bonds remain strong despite the inevitable challenges arising from the passage of time.
These pictures are statements of love, appreciation, and remembrances. They outline an introspective journey about my family, how I perceive them, and how I see myself through them. It is within them, where I find a sense of place, a sense of self.