Day 6


My goal this morning was to walk around the streets by myself. The weekend is when Austin is the busiest and liveliest. Being a commuter town, the weekend is when most of its inhabitants are here and go do their shopping and run errands. Here, I simultaneously collect stories and photograph not only the people, but their homes, their personal files, their memorabilia. Sometimes I feel like I’m taking advantage of the people as I intend to use their story at my own leisure. Guilt, responsibility, commitment, gratefulness. I feel all of those. The commerce is so live on Saturday. The sounds, the smells, the colors. It’s so much fun to watch the strangers go by with their lives. I came home after a few hours out, but felt like going out again right away, as if I could not waste my last full day in Austin. I decided to try and shoot some portraits. It is so much easier to photograph the walls and landscapes than people. Some cultures believe that photographs steal people’s souls. In the afternoon I drove around. I went by the cemetery once again and crossed the old railroad. I feel like getting lost in the dirt roads cutting between the bushes around here. In the evening I venture to watch a service at the evangelical (neo-pentecostal) Universal church. I felt a lot of pressure, as everyone in the church seemed to be paying close attention to me. I was clearly a stranger. As I feared being kicked out, I followed the minister’s commands. I repeated the chants, I was anointed, I took the envelope where one is supposed to deposit 10% of all money they make. I didn’t pay the tithe though. At one point the minister very enthusiastically asked the people what is the word that cannot be part of people's vocabulary. He repeated the question yelling performatively until, in unisonous, everyone yells, “paaaain”. I was shocked. Is the pain going to disappear if you don’t talk about it? Lol. Am I being too arrogant? At the end of the day I hang out with Dimarco. He is the grandson of Eugenia, the princess like figure I wrote about yesterday. By now I have a ton of photos of her. His family story seems to be central to this place’s identity. Eugenia’s husband was a popular and very charismatic politician who was murdered in a political dispute. I find it funny that the star of the story has the same name of my grandma. I didn’t ask Dimarco all I wanted to. I start to feel some level of attachment to people and don’t feel like poking their wounds. In the evening we celebrated Yvi’s birthday. Madalena prepared snacks and asked her ex-husband to buy a cake. There was a small party at the house for Yvi’s close friends. The girls, on their late teens, already held babies. They were like children holding other children, It must be really challenging to be an adolescent mom. One is barely learning to deal with its own hormonal chaos and has to deal with raising a kid. Kubi, the family dog! I’ll miss him.

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