The Broader picture: Father figures
Sunday 20 June 1999
Miguel Coquis, a Peruvian psychoanalyst who lives in Paris, took the images of his father one afternoon last year, on a rare return visit to Lima. "My father, who is in his eighties, is a very strong, emotional man, very fixed in his attitudes. I found him in bed, apparently sick, a kind of emotional sickness perhaps brought on by my return. I asked him, `What's wrong?' and he replied, `I think I'm going to die - it's finished.'"
Miguel, a keen photographer, and ever eager to practise his hobby, responded, "Well, if that's so, let's do something important together. What about trying to say goodbye to this man who's going to die?"
His father rose to the challenge, temporarily abandoning his deathbed as Miguel gently guided him into the scenario. First, Luis Alberto posed on the bed as the self who is about to die; next as a self to sit beside the dying self, to offer comfort. Then Miguel suggested he pose as his working self, a well-dressed man wearing a tie. "Good idea," agreed Luis Alberto.
This was followed by a doctor self (dressed in white), to stand by the bed and give medical assistance, and a religious self, Bible in hand and crucifix at the ready. Then there is the onlooking self, a witness to the life story. And naturally, given the cultural traditions of South America, there is also a satanic self emerging with a howl from under the bed to try to steal the soul of the dying self before it departs. "We had a little trouble here," confides Miguel. "My father is old and I had to stuff him under the bed."
He noticed that his father seemed to leave his sickness behind as he entered into the spirit of the occasion and took over the storytelling. "This was not therapy," Miguel insists. "All I do is to try to give the photographic approach a dreamlike quality, to let things unfold as if in a dream. But it was my father who was constructing that dream, not me."
Luis Alberto made an excellent recovery and is still going strong.
Miguel Coquis' work will be in PHotoEspana 99 in Madrid from 16 June until 18 July. For further information, call 0034 91 360 1320 or e-mail email@example.com
Arts & Ents blogs
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Italian pensioner hires an escort who turns out to be his son's girlfriend
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson