Hesitation, 2017
framed pigment print, 26 x 30 cm, text.

We got off the bus in the middle of nowhere. In front of us a small road forked steeply up the hill towards the west, away from the Pan-American Highway.
A warm sulphur breeze soared above the hill; the conquistadors valled this place The Mouth of Hell.

A stout young woman loped towards us waving a book in her hand. She said she was working on the mountain as a guide. She suggestively opened the rear door of the Toyota parked aside the road. As we sat on the back seat, the driver smiled over his shoulder and turned up the radio. All of a sudden two more men jumped inside the car. The one next to me had a small knife in his hand. He told us to close our eyes and to sit on our hands. -Tranquilo, the man said. As I closed my eyes, the driver stepped on the gas and we set out into the dark.

The fear of dying hovered above my thoughts but it was clouded by something much more urgent. Forcing myself from seeing in a strange car surrounded by bandits filled my body with overwhelming restlessness. As I tried to peek under my eyelid the man tickled my ribs with his small foldable blade. To stay on the map I started to imagine the surrounding scenery: an oncoming car, an abrupt echo from the roadside barrier, a gentle slope.

The journey felt endless. At some point I started remembering what I had in the bag that the bandits took: a little bit of cash, some irrelevant clothing and a small pocket camera with a near fully exposed film inside. Was there something significant on that film? I tried to remember what I had been shooting, where had I been, but every speed bump pulled my mind back to the present. I lifted my numbed arms in front of me and nerved myself to ask if I could get back the film from the compact camera. On top of the ongoing kidnapping I didn’t want to be deprived of the possibility of seeing the images I didn’t even remember taking. I managed to get the small point-and-shoot in my hands. Still eyes closed I was searching for the film release button from the bottom of the camera and eventually I was able to rewind the film and stuff it into my pocket.

A quarter of an hour passed, possibly another, before the car took a turn from the highway and slowed down and eventually stopped. The men pulled us out from the back seat and as I heard the doors closing, I opened my eyes.
A hand stretching out from the rear window was holding a note of 100 cordobas. -Bus money, the man said. We took the money and the car took off.

Soon after I had returned home from Central America I took the film to be developed. I had separated the roll that I saved from the bandits. I was eager to see the images I had salvaged, but I hesitated. The experience I had in the car with my eyes closed gave the roll a special meaning, which I feared would be lost if the images it contained would be visible to everyone. The loud narrative imposed by these photographs, if revealed, could overpower all the shots I had imagined – private landscapes exposed by fear, adrenalin and fantasy. Somehow these images that keep lingering on the verge of their own becoming are already, in their own labile essence, perpetually illuminated.
I keep hesitating.