Swans mate for life and, legend has it, they sing only once before they die.
My parents met an evening as 1969 was about to spring in the Southern Hemisphere. My father, Silvio, was 27 and living in Buenos Aires; my mother, Becky, was 17 and living in São Paulo. After exchanging letters every day for two weeks, my dad traveled back to Brazil to ask my mum if she’d spend the rest of her life beside him. She agreed and so they did.
In 2006 my father was diagnosed with a slow-setting form of Alzheimer’s disease. My mother moved heavens and hells in search for cures while doing all at hand to appease his hardships as years passed. She dedicated her life to care for him while researching on the disease, drugs, trials and doctors with a mighty force and bleak results. Their vital range became narrow and the passage of time condensed to those moments shared with each other, past and future became fogged and imprecise.
I had been living in Australia for 15 years at the time my father was diagnosed and moved back near them. I started joining them in their travels while they were still able to lead that kind of lifestyle and, with no agenda in mind, I started to photograph their last years together. The result was once and again of a profound intimacy and through them an exploration on love and death.
Fifty-three springs have passed and winter has come. My father has been bed-ridden for 24 months now, he is being fed through a gastric tube with seldom if ever moments of connection which are of course, only summoned by my mother’s kisses.
Flavia Schuster (1976, Buenos Aires) graduated with Honours in Photomedia from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia) in 2003 with Max Pam as her guide. Furthered her studies by participating in workshops with Duane Michals, Alberto García-Alix, AndersPetersen, Ataúlfo Perez Aznar to name a few.
She has exhibited in festivals and group shows around the world since 2001 and has held solo exhibitions in Argentina, Australia, Sweden, India and Canada. Her visual interests delve on the ubiquitous and immeasurable manifestations of love and madness, forever entwined. ‘De Noche todo el día’ (Nighttime all day), her first book, was published by Buen Lugar Ediciones in Santiago de Chile, 2019.
Her work is part of The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University, Australia and Instituto del Documental de Albacete, Spain collections as well as private collections in Australia, Argentina and Sweden.