Growing up in a catholic country with three catholic grandparents and a mother who feared disappointing her own mother was tough. I had to do things I never wanted to do, not because I was particularly disobedient or rebellious, on the contrary, I was a shy girl with a book in her hands, sitting on the floor in a corner, that was me. I had to do things like going to mass every Sunday and pray there and read little gospel books that my granny gave me. And lives of the saints… actually those stories of saints doing things to achieve holiness were my first fantasy readings (oh please don’t laugh at me!). And of course a good catholic girl, at 8 or 9, must celebrate her first communion day.My cousin Alicia is two years older than me and she had celebrated her first communion day already. I still remember her saying to me “Eating Jesus’ body changes your life forever”. Oh my goodness I was terrified! I was not only without faith (a real one, I didn’t feel faith at all), they wanted me to eat Jesus’ body! Why would I want to do that? Come the day, I had a cold, I felt so bad that I had hopes that my mum would actually want to cancel the whole thing… but cruel woman, she didn’t… she made me stand there, near the altar, with girls dressed like meringue cakes and boys dressed as sailors, with my street style pinky dress and a cardigan in which I could hide numerous handkerchiefs and tissues. I was made to read extracts from the bible (as I was the best reader in the group) out loud, with a microphone, in front of an audience… terrifying moment number two. But thankfully it was over within the hour (or was it an hour and a half?) and we were free to celebrate with our relatives and friends.The best thing about your first communion… well there are two good things about that and none of them has to do with the actual rite. One is the presents you get, and the other one is… FOOD FIGHTS! This is why kids under 16 must have a table apart from the rest of the people. (Even though my uncle Leo plays with food too). I had many presents and I have none of them now, only some photographs (film photographs that is) there is one that my mum finds particularly amusing and I find particularly embarrassing… it’s about me and her and a nose and a handkerchief… go figure. Amongst said presents was a camera; a Kodak… can’t remember which model. It was a film camera (digital cameras weren’t invented yet I think) and it was my favourite present (ok, the white radiocasette player was a favourite too). It was quite simple to use although it could only be used outdoors or in very well lit interiors; it didn’t have a flash light attached (like more recent cameras had). It didn’t need batteries nor had switch on/off button so you had to be very careful with it. I took loads of photos of feet (back then taking photos of your feet was considered a failure, you were laughed at, I swear).I guess I never took photography seriously growing up, basically because my parents kept the camera locked away from me. Because it wasn’t a thing I should be doing, I should be reading or doing homework or playing with my friends… and taking them as role models (why do parents do this to their kids? It’s awful!). I wanted to take photos, I wanted to go out and play with my camera, but I wasn’t allowed to. Plus film cost money and processing afterwards cost money (see that I don’t say that it was expensive or cheap, only that you had to pay, and I didn’t have any money to spend). I loved photography, but we were like Romeo and Juliet without the tragic ending.
Digital photography years later allowed me get a camera in my hands and take photos and explore and be curious and follow my own path. Not in a professional way because, again, schools had to be paid for and, living in a little town, there was the problem of not having schools near and having to move to a bigger town or even to Madrid or Barcelona. I’m learning by other people’s example: there’s the adorable Sara from Me and Orla, my beloved Laura from Lualunera, and the people I met and I’m meeting through them. Also there are tutorials and classes on youtube, and that’s free. And documentaries, and exhibitions, and the entire world out there to be looked at, shot, stories to be told that are in my head. I was told once (or twice, or a million times) that you learn photography through observation. You have to use your eyes and LOOK.And also you are there, you as inspirational as Laura and Sara, you who have stories to tell and to whom this blog is dedicated.
Ps. I still don’t have faith, you can be taught religion and made to do everything, but faith has to come from the heart and in my heart I don’t feel it. I feel that there is something out there, call it God call it whatever you like… but rites and repetitions have nothing to do with it. Or at least this is what I believe. I hope I did not offend you with this post, there’s humour in it, you are supposed to laugh… at me.
PS II. Of course this was an excuse to show some of my photos… I’ll shut up now. I-must-stop-babbling.