Venezuela; Tunneling Power. Portraits


The dictatorial, arbitrary, criminal, repressive government of Venezuela – among many other deplorable qualifications – has been responsible for snatching the lives of many Venezuelans in different ways but most reprehensibly due to the lack of food and medicines.

Scarcity captures our minds, producing a Tunneling effect which makes us focus single-mindedly only on what we need; this comes at a price. We lack curiosity in longer-term consequences, we lack energy to challenge the government, priorities are altered and ambitions abandoned. Scarcity is undoubtedly the new face of this oil country. Its powerful effect exerts complete control over the lives of the populace. People are obsessed; conversation has turned from politics to feverish conversations about where to find products and medicines.

  • Venezuelans spend up to 12 hours a week hunting for food.
  • Six out of ten have lost approximately 11 kilos of weight due to scarcity.
  • Venezuelans can buy food on assigned days and 78.6% struggle to find food

For us Venezuelans living abroad we obsess over how to get food home to our families who depend on us for survival. Our lives are tinged with bitter guilt

The media have failed Venezuelans, who are forgotten until the next street protest. This project attempts to fill the void left between the headlines, it provokes thought by visually representing how the Tunneling effect of scarcity imprisons all Venezuelans. It pushes back from the idea of straight documentary photography and visually imagines how this syndrome can generate control over anyone who experience any type of scarcity. This occurrence is not limited to Venezuela; the narratives of the concentration camps say that the food emergency is the greatest urgency that people have. Starvation is the most extreme form of scarcity.

I interviewed other Venezuelans living in the UK who send aid to their families, to consider how scarcity affects them and their families. I took portraits of each participant and I evoked this invisible tunnel effect by manipulating each portrait to reveal the personal controlling effect it has on them.

The Venezuelan crisis demands attention, this narrow controlling vision of its dictatorial government and its effects on the emotional, psychological and physical state has not been covered or addressed. The aim in documenting these stories is to encourage new perspectives and raise questions surrounding the longstanding problem

Projects

  • ƒ/4
  • 55 mm
  • 500
  • 1/80
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Ana “it is very sad and it is very difficult to deal with, we can’t see light at the end of the tunnel… The issue of shortage in Venezuela affected not only my family in Venezuela but also us that are away; it affects me I am suffering from chest pain.”
  • ƒ/4
  • 55 mm
  • 500
  • 1/15
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Theresa - “When I was stressed by a lack of medicines for my mom; I could not think of anything else, you can think about absolutely nothing else. I had neck pain, backaches and headaches and I didn’t want to do anything else, absolutely nothing else.”

  • ƒ/4
  • 37 mm
  • 640
  • 1/200
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Erika - “You have a double life you have to see what is happening. There are times you go without sleep because you are checking social media to see what is happening in Venezuela; the next day you are destroyed and exhausted at work.”

  • ƒ/5
  • 45 mm
  • 500
  • 1/40
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Angel - “It is really hard, there’s a constant anxiety and worry that you feel being on this side of the world because on my side I am thinking, will the box arrive; and on their side, will we receive it? And if not, how I can I get what they need?

  • ƒ/5
  • 53 mm
  • 500
  • 1/25
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Yo - “Conversation has turned into which products and medicines cannot be found, it’s impossible to escape. I feel my head; my neck and shoulders are so tight that they will break. Sometimes I am so tormented I want to say don’t tell me more stories.”

  • ƒ/4
  • 45 mm
  • 640
  • 1/160
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Valentina - “I cannot sleep and I am always worried about my family. It is sad that I live far from my family and I cannot spend time with my children but I need to stay here to earn money to send home.”

  • ƒ/4
  • 50 mm
  • 640
  • 1/400
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Mariana - “I have to constantly monitor the bank accounts of my family to ensure they have enough money to buy food. I call them frequently to check if they have eaten properly. If I don’t send money, they won’t eat three times a day or they’ll eat badly”