This work explores the materiality of the photographic image and how we relate to it, as a surface in which memory is symbolically contained. The term “vaporize” is taken from the novel 1984 by George Orwell in which people are eliminated from all historical records by means of vaporization and thus turned into “unpersons”.

In order to achieve the vaporization of individuals depicted in photographs, we placed two self-portraits outdoors for weathering over a period of thirty days. The images underwent several changes due to the climatic conditions to which they were exposed such as hail, rain, sunlight, wind, pollution, and radiation.

These climatic conditions in turn left physical marks on the surfaces such as variations in tone, ink wear, stains, burns, erasures, and changes in texture. On one hand, these marks represent the physical effects the environment has on our bodies. But most importantly, the subjects in the modified pictures can be said to have been turned into unpersons by means of vaporization, and the new images are now a symbol of the erasure or fading away of the memory previously contained within.

self-portraits by Andrea Tejeda and Susana Moyaho