Twenty-three-year-old Cali resident Camila Rodríguez Triana won the 2008 National Colombian-Swiss Photography prize with her series ‘Retazos’, or ‘Pieces’ Wednesday.
Rodríguez Triana, a student of social communication and a photography fan, began her prize winning entry by reading statistics and familiarizing herself with cases of Colombian families that find themselves obligated to confront a process of separation, isolation or abandonment due to the country’s economic or social situation.
“Pieces reflects the faces of some families that try to live with the absence of a loved one, searching desperately their presence in a photograph jealously guarded, that in some way become the symbol of a future reencounter,” she explained to El Espectador.
Rodríguez Triana’s portraits show children who find themselves far from their parents, who have immigrated to other regions or cities or other countries to look for employment, reflecting the situation in Colombia today. Death, migration, displacement, economic necessities that force them to work long hours are all themes of the work, reports the newspaper.
“I had begun this project a year before this competition, because it touched me to live in a situation of pain and from this experience I gave myself the task of documenting this situation that was already so common in our country, not only for questions of violence, but also for the desire to seek a better opportunity in life,” said the winner.
The prize was awarded by the Colombian Culture Ministry and the Swiss Ambassador to Colombia. Two Colombian photographers and the secretary of the Swiss ambassador judged the competition.