When I came back to Argentina after living in Spain for many years, I had just turned forty, and felt the need to work on my identity. Photography, with its precise ability to freeze a point in time, was the tool I used for this purpose.
I began going through my family photographs, the ones of my youth, the ones from school. I found our class portrait from first year [eighth grade], taken in 1967, and felt the need to know what had become of each one of my classmates.
I decided to hold a 25th reunion of my classmates from the Colegio Nacional Buenos Aires so that we could see each other again. I invited those who I was able to find to my house, and proposed doing a portrait of each of them.
I blew up a huge version of the ‘67 picture, the first one in which we were all together, to serve as a backdrop for the portraits, and asked each to include an element of his or her current life in their portrait.
I continued to do portraits of those classmates who did not come to the reunion, but the large photograph could not be moved. I took small copies of it along to include in the portraits of those I was able to find.
The portraits were done in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Robledo de Chavela (Spain), and New York.
Later, a ceremony in memory of the students of the school who had disappeared or were murdered by State Terrorism in the black years of the dictatorship was organized. After twenty years, the school authorities accepted, for the first time, that the missing be officially recognized in the school’s main hall. It was a historic occasion.
I decided to work on the surface of the large photograph that had served as a backdrop for the portraits of my classmates, and to write a few thoughts about each of their lives on the image.
As part of the ceremony, we mounted an exhibit of pictures of that era in order to transmit what had happened to the school’s current students.
The pictures were something that remained of the ninety eight disappeared classmates, a tool to convert them into real, accessible people. We had to know what and whom we were talking about.
I decided to include the first year [eight grade] class picture in the show, altering it by adding my texts and the recent portraits of my classmates as they are now.
The pictures remained on exhibit in the school for a few days. The light of the sun at its zenith penetrated the enormous windows of the hall, shone on the faces of the students who stopped to look, and reflected them on the glass that protected the altered photograph.
The portraits of those reflections constitute a fundamental part of this project, as they represent the instants of the transmission of experience from one generation to another.