Vanished

My Grandma Vanished.

She passed away in May, after having contracted Covid-19 a month earlier. Almina, for everybody Mimma, was 85 and was living in a care home since quite a long time. Years before, one random day she decided she didn’t want to live at home anymore, she wanted someone to take care of her, so she sold her car, most of her belongings, rented her home, and she went living in this structure. Divorced in the '50s, very independent, creative, in her own way, she absolutely loved playing cards. Not being able to be close to her, due to the virus, made her passing away a very strange experience, which this project is trying to narrate. The physical distance imposed by the situation created a real sense of disappearance. Sometimes it feels like it never happened, like she just vanished. So this project tries to explore absence through recovered presence, through an intimate investigation that started from objects as a way of regaining possession of a vanished memory without it being lived. She had this one photo album with her, where she collected photos throughout the years. Through the archival imagery that my grandma chose to have close to her, I built my own journey. I've used her memories like a guide, to re-discover or re-invent my memories of her.

The journey started by documenting her physical belongings, the few I have left of her, shot almost forensically like "evidences", tangible proof that she actually existed. Then digging out other archival images from the family photo album, which have become the means to no longer seek the presence in material things, but rather in memories themselves. These memories are blurred, out of focus, ephemeral, sometimes they are just feelings, or they remind of something else. Places from my childhood, the underpass where she used to drive back and forth to make me feel like on a roller coaster, the elevator of her old house-my only recurring dream ever, Oleanders.

At the end there is the present, the real family legacy, what's really left of my grandmother in who we are, our habits, my mother.

Winner of Refocus#2 - open call by MUFOCO (museum of contemporary photography) + DGCC + Triennale Milano

 © 2023 Claudia Orsetti 

Freelance Photographer

Claudia

Orsetti