The circus is an art form that combines acrobatics, music, humor and magic to create a unique and fascinating show. In Bolivia, one of the most recognized and oldest circuses is the “Circo Hermanas Gassaui”, founded by Salek Gasaui Carrasco in the 1970s. This circus has toured the entire country with its gypsy tent, considered the largest in the world. country, and has delighted thousands of viewers with their acts of humor, risk and beauty.
In 2019, I had the honor of participating in a cultural, conceptual and contemporary project that shows a day in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The 24hr Project is also a journey capable of rediscovering corners, moments and characters that sometimes go unnoticed.
For three months, he took advantage of this invitation, I photographed from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. the Hermanas Gassaui Circus, which was found installed on Alemana avenue and fifth ring. My interest was to capture everything related to the performative act, from the preparations to the end of the performance. But I was limited to the slogan of only photographing at the established time. It was quite a challenge.
Reminiscences of the pandemic: photographs of a city in quarantine
During the quarantine and thanks to the job I had at the time, I was one of the privileged few who were allowed to roam the city freely. With my nikon f5 camera with a nikon 28mm f2.8 lens, a tripod and a Kentemere 400 roll of film that my dear friend Daniel Caballero Zurita gave me, I went to experiment with long exposures, several seconds long, that could reflect what I call the echoes of the pandemic.
The reminiscences of the pandemic echoed through the empty streets of the city, reminding us of the presence of the invisible enemy lurking in the darkness. The lonely streets and deserted buildings looked like something out of a horror story, as if the city itself had been abandoned to its fate. The absence of sound and movement created an apocalyptic atmosphere, in which only the virus seemed to have a life of its own. The reminiscences of fear and uncertainty spread like a plague, and no one knew when the end would be.
The photographs I present were taken in the heart of the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in the midst of the pandemic that ravaged the world in 2020. At a time when quarantine had become the new normal, the streets that were once full of life and human activity were desolate and empty. Like an reminiscences of the emptiness that took over the city, these images seek to convey the sadness and death that lurked around every corner. Buildings and avenues became a post-apocalyptic landscape, and the few passersby who ventured out became lonely figures amidst the desolation.
“You should” is one of the words I hear the most on a daily basis, within my close circle it is one of the words that is repeated the most. Among many you should do this and you should do that, few are those who perhaps understand the magnitude of the decisions that I currently face professionally. The tedium that comes from making images in a complacent way took me to certain limits of my personality that I prefer not to visit, I feel that after exploring various ways of observing I find myself blinded by the possibilities of imagining. A good friend accompanies me these days, encourages me and listens carefully to my reflections and concerns, it was he who among the “shoulds” suggested that I give a new opportunity to the possibility of creating content for my web page, something that in At first it seemed to me that it made no sense, but now I understand the virtues of being able to have my own space, away from social networks, where I can freely express this re-learning process that I am undergoing.
These last months, since I returned to my hometown, it was inevitable to evaluate the path traveled, thousands of images made that satisfied the needs of third parties more than my own. Photography is the medium that I decided to throw up a personal imaginary that over time I only censored. And now, how do I un-learn what I have learned? How am I amazed and enjoy the world of the image again?
By way of following my good friend’s advice, I’m going to try to keep this page’s blog more active, share this process a little so that in the future, when I see the posts, I wonder why I did it, or what I was thinking.
It should clean and clear my mind, hopefully this exercise will work.