Blind doña Maria sees a borderless landscape

BOOK: The book Doña Maria und Ihre Träume offers an exceptional journey through Venezuela's rugged and mysterious desert landscape with a touch of magical realism.

Geraldo is a Portuguese cultural worker and curator.
Published: 2019-12-13

The iconic book Doña Maria and her Dream er basert på documentary photographs from Eyrie Friedrichs' many travel to Venezuela, which in 2008 he received the precision-heavy award Lead Gold Award for. The book came under the spell of a journey of discovery in a gloomy and hard Venezuela that is slowly gaining momentum in the oil and politics, while frighteningly gaining an ever-stronger reputation as a test tube for failed theory and practice.

The book starts northwest of the country, in the state of Lara, and moves toward the Falcón region. Over a twelve-year period, Friedrichs met the same families at the same time every single year - a very welcome reunion - while looking for shade and smiles under the small roofs that have managed to withstand both the tooth of a time and a storm or two.

The horizon seems endless, completely colorless - there are no colorful rainbows, and water is more valuable than gold.

Here, a hundred years of solitude has been turned into twelve years of friendship, and the trust between photographer and the people being photographed have not come upon a foothold.

Doña Maria And Her Dreams, Photo By Horst Friedrichs
All Photo: Doña Maria And Her Dreams, Photo By Horst Friedrichs

No pirates, no news

But why would anyone volunteer to travel thousands of miles to photograph a forgotten, golden and inhospitable landscape free of pirates, where there is neither war nor drama, and there seems to be no news value? Why would anyone want to go to places where time has stood still, like a lizard waiting for its prey, or seek out blind potters, wrinkled and sunburnt chairmakers or lifeless stone cutters? Why choose some black crows instead of shiny feather parrots?

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