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historia, memoria y silencios

January 25 - April 14, 2013
Artist's Talk and Opening Reception: January 25, 6:00-8:00pm

Untitled XXV
  Photography is a witness to history and collaborates in the construction and reconstruction of the organic, ever-changing memory. I think it is important to think of the silence, the unknown element between the pictures, because in it there is the potential to re-write our past and with it our present…I am more interested in the things we don’t know.”-- Lorena Guillén Vaschetti.


In this very personal project Lorena Guillén Vaschetti examines what the family photograph reveals about our past, and about what is hidden, beyond the frame. In 2009, Vaschetti's mother threw away all the family slides to protect her daughter from the family history. Vaschetti was able to recover only one box from the many that her mother had discarded.

Vaschetti’s photographs of these recovered slides resemble evocative film stills from an obscure, dreamlike screenplay. They pose many more intriguing questions than they answer as we peer into a distant world of family relationships formed into a broken narrative. They all have a mysterious quality that reflects the passage of time and about how powerful but constructed memories of our past shape what we ultimately believe to be true.

History is what we agree happened. Memory is this organic thing—we think it was one way, we experience something together and after a few years you feel differently than I do. And silences are all those things that we don’t know and we don’t want to talk about, and that stay in silence. It’s very complicated for future generations. We want to be remembered, we want to be somebody in this world, and we leave so much of [the] little things which are insignificant.”-- Lorena Guillén Vaschetti.

Guillen-Vaschetti herself says that her way of photographing resembles the way she remembers things. Indeed, people who recall early childhood memories, usually frame them in fragmentary details…There is something at once primordial and evocative about this kind of recollection. If memory is synecdochical and a fragment can spark all that was relevant of a particular experience, then Guillen Vaschetti’s images are also a sort of diary of memories.”--Fernando Castro- A Rhapsody of Parts

Untitled XI


"My mother and I are the only members left of a big Italian family. Convinced that she was lifting the heavy weight of the family past off my shoulders, she called me to let me know that she had thrown away all the family slides: 'It happened already,' she said.

I had the chance to recover only a box containing some slides, metallic cans and small pieces of paper describing the destinations of the family's trips and other details. The wonderful individual slides I was able to see were made before I was born; they were my grandfather’s.

Everyone looked so different from how I remembered them… so happy! As if the past had not been as I imagined. How different is my idea of the past from how the past actually was? The slides were in a sand-colored box. Some were loose, others wrapped in small packages. I decided to keep these unopened and with them I write and rewrite my own story.

But there were others that had been carefully tied with elastic bands and papers, or they were inside closed metallic cans. I was more interested in these than in the ones I could see. How much I could or wanted to know of the past? Would the images tell the truth? What is the role of photography in a family's history? And what do I do with that "gift"?

Sin Abrir, "Unopened I"
Sin Abrir, "Unopened IX"
Sin Abrir, "Unopened V"
Sin Abrir, "Unopened XI"

I decided to let the tied-up slides, the small metal cans and the pieces of paper speak to me not from the content of the images themselves but from the questions they were posing. I never opened them. And I am still listening.

Chronological time, viewed as a series of equal parts ordered one after the other, is for me, extremely limited because it doesn't take into consideration the depth or the intensity of an instant. While some moments are empty and barren, others bloom with meaning and emotion. For me photography is a medium that allows me to leave the finite and connect with the infinite present. When in darkness I find light, when in movement I find permanence, when in a quick gesture I find essence, I know I have found the image I sought."


Lorena Guillén Vaschetti was born in Rosario, Argentina. She studied Architecture and Anthropology at the University of Buenos Aires before committing to photography; subsequently studying at the International Center for Photography in New York. Her photographs have been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows throughout South America, the United States, and Europe including Photo España; Festival de Luz; FotoFest; the Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires; the Centro Cultural Correios- FotoRio, Brazil; the Museet for Fotokunst, Denmark; and the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires. Her works have been widely published including in Harper’s Magazine, Photo District News, Photonews, Fotomundo, The Independent and National Geographic Traveler. Historia, Memoria y Silencios (Schilt, 2012) is her first book.

Click HERE for more information about Lorena Guillén Vaschetti.

All images are Pigment Ink-jet Prints.

Vaschetti Vaschetti Vaschetti
Untitled II Untitled V Untitled XXI

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