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Faces from San Carlos

Lothar Troeller | Antioquia, Colombia

Pastora Mira, Documentarian at the former so-called House of Horror. “I lost my daughter Sandra who was kidnapped by the paramilitaries and then disappeared. Then my son, who had just turned 18, was also killed by them. I channel my pain and anger into helping others look for their missing relatives. I found eight bodies before I finally found my daughter’s body in a mass grave near a river bank in 2008.”

People of San Carlos, Colombia, are traumatized. For decades they have suffered under the violence between guerrilla and paramilitary forces. Almost everybody can report murdered family members. At the moment violence is calming down; so people take the risk to relocate with the help of the government to their destroyed homes. I photographed 20 stories.

 

Faces from San Carlos, Colombia
Synopsis
People of San Carlos are traumatized. For decades they have suffered under the violence between guerrilla and paramilitary forces. Everybody can report murdered family members. I will photograph their stories.
Background for the project.
I was in Medellin in 2010 for the first time. The curator Juan Alberto Gaviria Velez, also director of the Paul Bardwell Contemporary Gallery at the Colombo Americano in Medellin, gave me a show on my street photography in 2011. I went back in 2014 to start a photo project on people in San
Carlos, Antioquia, that was most hit by the violence between the guerrillas and the paramilitary forces. At one time over 80% of the population had fled to safer areas like Medellin. Now, the violence calmed down, and more people take the risk to move back to their destroyed homes and
rebuild with the help of the government.
Relevance to the given theme.
It doesn’t help if each side blames the other, especially since the line sometimes divides families. It is also not possible to help with the attitude of a visitor knowing it better how to overcome the hatred. I want to give San Carlos a human and personal face. When I ask them to look into the camera it’s for them (and the viewer) like looking into a mirror. My hope is to encourage the people to become stronger, so they can help themselves. I started taking portraits and gather stories. I plan to go back next year to offer photography workshops to the local high school students to support the healing process. I will try to bring as many point & shoot cameras with me as possible (or necessary.)
Technical means of production and/or installation.
I will keep on portraying people from San Carlos. I will supply them with their photographs as prints with the idea that they could do an exhibition on their own with my and the students’ photographs. The people in my portraits will always be in the same spot on the right side of the horizontal picture,
whereas the background will be slightly blurred and desaturated.
My prints will be about 70x100 cm (30x45 inch), making their heads life-size, shown together with their (shortened) stories or statements.

 Lothar Troeller

2B Petunia Dr

Lakewood NJ 08701

1.646.752.1538

Lo.Troeller@gmail.com

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