Susana Raab’s compelling photographs were recently published in Nueva Luz. One of our favorites, is a portrait of Jaime Quispe, a young man with a portrait of a woman tattooed on his chest. About the Image describes how this encounter with Quispe was the catalyst to Raab’s own personal awakening.
I knew before he responded to my question what his answer would be. Jaime Quispe stood out to me amidst the crowds in the working class Limeño beach of Playa Agua Dulce because of the portrait of the woman tattooed to his chest. One of the underlying personal themes in Cholita is the nature of human attachments. I confront my own fears and longing for attachment by visually exploring those of others.
Jaime Quispe had lost his beloved mother and immortalized her on his body. This symbolic fusion of selves reminded me of the ee cumming’s line, “i carry your heart, i carry it in my heart.” All my life, I have longed to know a maternal love that is supportive rather than destructive. Through Jaime Quispe and the many other Peruvians who have shared fragments of their lives with me, I was finally able to step outside my own protective denial and recognize the losses I have sustained: the first steps towards reconciliation began on that beach with Jaime. —Susana Raab, Feb 19, 2014
To see more of Raab’s Cholita series and other remarkable photographers in the current issue of Nueva Luz, click here for a free downloadable sampling.
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