Photo project

Another Love Story: How Photography Heals Trauma

Karla Hiraldo Voleau recreated intimate moments she experienced with her former boyfriend through photography. This helped her recover from the betrayal of her loved one and reclaim her own story. She also demonstrated how deceptive photos of a happy couple can be.
Karla Hiraldo Voleau

Photographer. Born in the Dominican Republic, spent most of her life in France. Studied design at the Condé School of Arts in Paris, as well as photography at the Lausanne School of Arts (ECAL). Lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland.

— With relatives who were photographers and my father being a musician, art and culture were always present in my household. However, the dominant hallmark of our family was unconventional stories and significant traveling, and that stuck with me too. After my studies, I pursued an artistic practice and eventually picked photography as my main medium.

I was in a relationship with X for one year. I found out about his relationship with another woman during a phone conversation that took place in the middle of our relationship. It was a moment of profound shock, similar to when you hear on the phone somebody you love just died.

The idea for this photo project came from the ‘Love Songs’ show at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, which invited photographers to explore their personal lives and experiences via their work.

My initial intention for the series was to create a romantic and joyful exploration of love centered on X. However, after learning of X’s betrayal, the project turned into a way for me to process my feelings, recover, and reclaim my story.

After learning of X’s betrayal, the project turned into a way for me to process my feelings.

The decision to use an actor to portray X was multifaceted: it was a way to protect X’s anonymity legally and emotionally, but also I didn’t want to give him the main role in the project. Besides, it allowed me to distance myself from the painful memories associated with him.

Re-visiting each location, preparing each scene with care, and paying close attention to every last detail were all steps in the rigorous process of recreating the 300 or so pictures with the actor.

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The project aimed to question popular notions about love and relationships. I hope to encourage contemplation on the flawed nature of images in representing reality by sharing my personal experience. In addition, I wanted to show the tie of support between two women who had both been harmed by the same person, in order to encourage empathy and solidarity.

I hope to encourage contemplation on the flawed nature of images in representing reality by sharing my personal experience.

This project was really important to my healing. It enabled me to step back from the pain and view it as a fiction rather than my traumatic reality. It gave me the power to take back control of my story and persevere in the face of hardship. As for X, I have had no direct reaction or communication with him since I discovered his true self.


You can order the photobook “Another Love Story” by Karla Hiraldo Voleau here

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