Maria Jou Sol.

April 2020

Barcelona-based photographer Maria Jou Sol shares with us her project BLANCO, an intimate look at the final part of her grandmother's journey, capturing moments of real life, love and peace. 

When I was a kid I remember that wherever I went, I brought my camera with me. There was no other reason than to save instants for posterity. Watching the pictures and transporting myself to these moments afterward, made me happy. I wanted to remember everything, I guess I was afraid of forgetting all the experiences I had lived until then. I've always been a nostalgic person, often living in the past and I realize photography helps me deal with open wounds and un-finished events, those things we sometimes encapsulate in hidden places within us and they prove challenging to describe with words. It takes me back to places or people that were important to me and left a mark on me at some point in life. It has also helped me strengthen the ties between our past and our present, being able to reach places that I thought were imaginary. 

Maybe photography is an act of war against selective memory, we only remember what is somehow meaningful to us, which makes sense in a way, but it often happens to me that I look at a photograph from a long time ago and I magically remember things that I overlooked back then. 

Over the years, I learned that beyond storing memories, I could try to tell stories with pictures. And that's what I try to do, even though it's hard for me to classify myself within a particular type of photography. I often get into existential crises because I like many things and I'm interested in a lot of others and I don't know where to start, but I think while I'm thinking about what I want to do in life, I can keep recording life itself. I like to share, get to know people and stories and show the everyday life as it is (or maybe as I perceive it).

Photography has this wonderful part of being able to do a lot of things and be in very different situations, it's like living a lot of lives at the same time. They say that we become visible because someone looks at us, otherwise we do not exist, and that's why I think it is important to be able to record things through an image, being able to photograph different realities and avoiding them falling into oblivion. 

Photography reminds us of what happened and this can teach us not to repeat history, it is a great weapon of denouncement, a great way to beat obliviousness. Memory is the origin of our identity, we are a mixture of our genetics and our experiences, and they can only leave a mark on us through memories. These pictures are from my grandmother’s funeral, who died of Alzheimer’s.

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