Bird in Flight Prize ‘20

Bird in Flight Prize ‘20 Winner: Rules For Fighting

Project by Peruvian photographer Paola Jimenez Quispe, Bird in Flight Prize ‘20 winner.

Paola Jimenez Quispe, Peru

One day I googled my dad’s name and found an article where I found his photograph. He was covered in blood in the seat of his car. I recognized his shirt. “Rules for fighting” is a project about my father’s murder in 1998. His name was Feliciano, and he had a business in Lima, Peru. After several years, I began to investigate deeper into his murder. I had this urge to build a relationship with him. In addition to talking with my family (whom for many years failed to talk about the subject) and with close friends, I searched in my house for evidence of his existence. That’s how I found some objects, police documents, which gave me specific details: A plastic bag full of undeveloped film rolls, videocassettes, and a notebook. I try to reconstruct this story to build my identity as I grow up. The murder of my father and the trauma that my family went through will always be with me, but while creating this, I was able to feel the grief I could not manage as a kid.

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Both my parents grew up in Cuzco but they met each other in Lima, the capital of Peru. They got married in their early twenties. This is Cuzco covered in red.
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This is my father and mother at the ages they got married. Next is a page of my father's notebook. He writes "Rules for fighting", from which I took the project name. The rules are:
1. Fight but be fair
2. Stay on topic
3. Do not include third parties
4. Don't take things out of the past
5. Do not insult each other, do not use hurtful words, or take advantage of the weakness of the other
6. Finish the fights
7. Keep a good mood
8. Hold hands.
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My father and mother wrote in a notebook before getting married. They wrote about love, relationships, parenting, etc. I use these notebooks as a canvas, and I include writings from both of them, and the object itself as I found it. This is my mother in her teens. She met my father when she was 14, and him 17. This is a page of my mother's notebook, and some plants. She loves plants.
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My mother was left with three children: my sister (14), my brother (12), and myself (5). She struggled with depression for many years.
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When my father was murdered he had some objects with him, like his wallet, a clock, some pens and a comb. My mother kept all these objects through the years. This is my father's wallet covered in blood, and a bent photograph I found when he was young.
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This is a photograph of the body of my father in his car the day he was killed, on top of one of the accounting books belonging to the business of his murderer.
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This is the street corner where my father was murdered. Police records stated that they found my father's body around 2 pm, but his car went missing at 11 am, so they don't know where he was between those hours.
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In 2015, I found the last clothes my mother kept from my father. I put them on, and decided to create a self-portrait with my mother. In 2019, I found the picture the police took of his body; he had a similar shirt. I combine this with a text. This is my way of facing grief.