Toward the end of 2009, my beloved uncle fell ill. As it had done in the past, photography allowed me to wrestle with the emotions I was experiencing, by documenting mourning through a lens. This series is a romanticization of the process of dying by coupling photographs of my sick uncle, with religious signs and symbols.
I was raised in a Roman Catholic family, which celebrates the death of Christ and his resurrection. Religion has been a part of my life and upbringing, and as evidence, I incorporate religious icons into my work. For me, religion is a source of comfort and a time for reflection. An image of trees may symbolize the family tree and the “tree of life,” which manifests itself through teaching and scriptures in many religions.
My relationship with my family created this project, and it is through these images that I manifested my own mourning. As I explored the relationships between certain family members and my uncle, I realized that mourning manifests itself in the form of guilt, passion, love, and stress. After numerous conversations with many family members, I was able to break through their protective shell and expose their true feelings, allowing me to capture private moments in time. I decided to include vintage photographs of my family members to provide insight into the beginning of their lives, and its reminiscent quality with regard to a place of origin. This gave me a stream of consciousness that I was not aware of when I initially started this project.
The idea of mourning is romantic. The story of a loved one leaving is considered a tragedy. The inability to let go, embraces the idea of guilt, which creates more than a relationship, a strong bond—like a marriage.