Only when I heard unusual noises next to my house, still before daybreak, did I remember that yesterday they were holding elections for delegates to the People’s Power. The doorway of the house next to mine was restored as a school in order to open from seven in the morning. Without need of knowing the votes, I knew it would turn out that the same delegate was re-elected, who I think is going for her third or fourth term. She is a single mother who adds this additional burden to her work and raising a teenage son, because no one else wants the post.
The nomination assemblies around here were meteoric; hardly any took longer in search of an impressive alternative candidate. My attention was drawn also to the fact that from my neighborhood, in all the places where I saw candidate photos, there were two, in contrast with previous years where there appeared a sizeable group of pictures with their corresponding political biographies, but — and this is characteristic nationally — no candidate reveals a plan, outlines a job, displays a concrete program on being elected.
As I stopped believing in the project of the government years ago, I do not vote. Yesterday, my neighbors from the polling station will have detested us a little (a little more?) because through our fault they kept the college open until the closing deadline. I am one step beyond those who void their ballots or leave them blank, but this year, my son for the first time, was of the requisite age to choose. He has just entered the university as you already know, that’s why I thought he would feel compelled to vote. It was treated as a very personal decision that we did not influence. He decided not to do it, but not for the civic reasons of his mom and dad: As it is a right and not a duty, it does not interest me.
At some point that indifference will stop. That will be when he feels represented, or feels that his vote can make a difference.
Translated by mlk.
October 22 2012
Taken at the moment in which the dentist was beginning the torture session
I secretly envy those who achieve those photos that I would like to have made. Before, with the film camera, there was a “roll.” Getting Orwo film from East Germany was a tiresome task: if there were rolls, the 100 ASA did not suit me; I detested the Orwocolor, which always seemed to be expired; but the 400 ASA Orwocromes were hard to get. Developing a roll was a matter of months in the “consolidate enterprise.” They also sold little rolls of slides that were developed with the same delay and had to be viewed with a projector. In the 1990’s Orwo disappeared, and Agfa and Kodak reappeared, but now those came in the other currency that has marked our lives, and my little Minolta camera, a gift from my brother Michael, sits in some drawer, which, if it exists, well I have lost sight of it a long time ago, just as it has been years since I’ve seen a roll of film.
The invasion of the digital camera changed photography forever and was love at first sight, but impossible love. It was not until a little more than three years ago that they gave me a very good digital camera that I dropped on the floor on my trip to Spain last year, and when I took it to a shop for repair, the clerk ended up selling me another.
With that little second-rate camera I entered myself in the competition of aday.org in order to photograph my 15th of May. I got up ready to do a portrait of all that would be my day. In the end I found myself with almost 100 photos from which I had to choose ten (the maximum number admitted in the contest). I decided on a group that reflects occupations. They are not great photos, but in almost all can be seen the attraction of the photographed for the lens. All strangers (except the dentist), they had no objection to being photographed, and even those who do not seem to have, “posed.”
My reality has a decaying beauty that makes the shutter contract. A foreign observer could not perceive the conflicts running through them. My images do not reflect misery, not even evident poverty, but life in one of the best places of the city, and I did not leave home. On the other hand, as is already known, the essential is almost always invisible.
Translated by mlk
May 18 2012