Argentina Week: Abraham Votroba: Forget-Me-Not
I met Abraham Votroba a few years ago, when he was coordinating the Portfolio Reviews at the Encuentros de la Luz festival in Buenos Aires, but it was not until much later, that we started talking more often and I got to know his work.
Abraham’s work is delicate -there is a sensibility in all his images that is palpable. The play of light and shadows creates a story in each image -it does not reveal everything and it makes us wonder what else is hidden in the frame.
Abraham was born in Misiones, Argentina, the land of the red mud, which greatly influences his work. Most of his projects deal with childhood, the relationship between a child and his mother, spending time outside surrounded by nature, and siestas in the heat of those humid and hot days.
He studied Photography at the Escuela Argentina de Fotografía in Buenos Aires. He has had many exhibitions, among them at the Museo de Arquitectura y Diseño MARQ, Museo de la Cárcova, both in Buenos Aires, and Museu da Fotografía, Curitiba, Brazil.
His photographs are in museums and private collections around the world.
Abraham is also a teacher -he gives a photographic essay workshop, El peso del corazón (The weight of the heart), every year, where he helps his students understand their work, build it together and then put it out into the world.
“I am interested in photographing what I am afraid of forgetting. I want to keep those lived-in spaces with me“. That is a phrase that Abraham says time and time again -and it is the foundation for his latest series, Forget-Me-Not.
Living far away from my family home taught me how to see at a distance.
A connection that I have with my mother is through nature, through her garden and I searched in that language a way to communicate with her.
My sister told me recently that she has a memory of me watering plants… I like that story.
Sometimes I think what my life would be like if I were a plant, what my leaves would look like, what color they would be, how deep my roots would go.
I tried to focus on the evocative thoughts, on those moments spent in the house’s garden, in the stillness of a nap or at night, but never in silence. You can hear the inner voices of a child and a mother.
I created a small record of my childhood place, some of the shots were made from the waist, in order to recover the things I was looking at.
I tried to find those dream like images, objects of my memory, tales of a childhood fable that become alive again, at that very moment.
While the present is asleep, my memories grow.
“What is important is to look inside ourselves“, Abraham Votroba teaches his students in his workshop; and that is exactly what he has done in his next series, Inner Journey. He recently self published a beautiful book about this project, which was presented at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires.
In 2009 we set out on a road trip from the city of Posadas (in the province of Misiones) to the province of Corrientes, in the Northeast of Argentina. It was not a pleasant journey: I was accompanying my father in the uncertainty of his health. The unstable days, the kilometers, the hours and the images became a metaphor from my inner self.
They were snippets of time, seen from the moving car, as if the only real thing were the birds and the power lines. The barn swallows that escorted us gave me hope.
I photographed the landscapes I saw from inside the vehicle, one after another.
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