The first photograph I discovered from Eleonora Ronconi’s Once Upon a Time project was the one featured below. As Renée Zellweger stated in the movie Jerry Maguire, this image had me at hello:
It is night time, a little ominous, and the boy, with no parent in sight, is alone, pulled to the light and pulled to something he desires, and in effect, it represents something in all of us. It’s cinematic and compelling.
Elonora was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and after spending four years in medical school, shifted gears and began a career in conference interpreting. She is fluent in many languages, including photography. Eleonra has taken workshops with Eddie Soloway, Mary Ellen Mark, Sam Abel, Ed Kashi and Jay Maisel and has been exhibiting in solo and group shows for the past several years, and is currently the online featured artist for the Verve Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in Palo Alto, California and continues to explore her dual passions.
Eleonora’s series, Once Upon a Time, was created over the past three years during visits to a variety of state and county fairs, carnivals, and summertime attractions.
Once Upon a Time: Of all my memories of childhood, I most cherish the trips my father and grandfather made with me to amusement parks. Perhaps these are more poignant as they both passed away when I was still young. We shared our love for popcorn while we listened to the carousel melody, and we had a lot of laughs when cotton candy remnants got stuck on my face. As most kids of my generation, I was an avid reader, and I created stories full of intrepid characters and riveting adventures like those in Alice in Wonderland and Lord of the Rings. These parks were the perfect place to bring this world of fantasy to life. The whoosh of the wind, the screeching of the metal and the kids screaming -all fueled my imagination. Beneath the obvious, I could hear hidden voices that called from inside plastic creatures, sleeping giants waiting to be awaken for one more thrill. It was a delightful time spent with them. My excitement rekindled their own joy and wonder for life.
As an adult, I began to revisit some of these memories and parks, just after sundown, when tired families were heading home. Twilight evokes an ominous feel to the parks and the absence of people opens a space for me to create my own stories, just like when I was a child. There is a stillness that allows me to bring back my memories. I feel the echoes of my childhood and my family, and, even though they are no longer physically here, their presence is still palpable.
These photographs represent my past and my present. Not only do they remind me of fun and fantasy, but also of fear and uncertainty. The empty spaces remind me of what I have lost, but they also invite me for one last ride, one last adventure before the lights go out.
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The CENTER Awards: The Me & Eve Award: Lori HawkinsMay 10th, 2019