There is a negative aesthetic pleasure in the act of trying to forget something or someone you loved. This is the feeling that the photographer and sociologist Diana Barbosa (Portugal, 1983) expresses in her series “El olvido siempre permanece”. Diana tries to make beautiful the painful exercise of forgetting while capturing a number of artificial objects with a nostalgic vibe (from a typewriter to a vintage radio). These abandoned elements devoured by nature look as if they could decompose at any minute, even though we see a small part of them sticking up in every picture. That little visible part of the objects resemble the old memories that remain forever with us. Even if we try to hide them or throw them away, as if they were wasted objects that we no longer need, they will always be an important part of us. This struggle between the organic and the artificial elements of the image work as a metaphor for this unnatural process of ‘a deliberated forgetfulness’. These photographs remind us how complex it is to deal with our past, especially when we try to keep hurtful things far away from our present.
Not only are we what we remember, but what we decide not to.
Images courtesy of the artist.