Photographs are our window to the past. Our passion for photography comes from our father’s drive to preserve and pass down our family’s memories…
Snap sister Giselle here, bringing you the story of how our love for photography started. A look into our journey into this beautiful country we call home, and the struggle our parents endured to get us here. The land of opportunity and prosperity.
As a child, I had hundreds of photographs taken by dad. He made it a point to always have a roll of film loaded to catch every important moment and milestone of my childhood in Cuba. He was our family’s memory-maker.
In 1984, our parents made the hard decision to leave their homeland. Leaving behind a home that was built by our great-grandfather in the 1950s. Abandoning everything we owned to be taken ownership by the Castro regime. Literally, I watched in childish confusion as a government official walked through our home, taking inventory of all items in each of the rooms. From beds and armoires, my books, my fathers stamp collection albums, to the very frames hanging on our walls. I remember my parents were thrilled that the officer forgot to jot down the rocking chair he sat in, and they decided to hand it down to our beloved neighbors. A few weeks later, they came back to recount all the inventory, and seal our home with yellow tape on the doors. We had to leave, and that was the last time I saw my house in Cuba.
We immigrated with nothing but a few changes of clothes and one shoulder bag full of photographs. We arrived in Venezuela, where we knew no one. Lived in 2 different refuge homes for immigrants, where we shared common bathrooms, kitchens, and dormitories. We made our way in this new land and soon had our own place. Karen was born there, in a small city in the state of Aragua called La Victoria. We lived there for 6 years, as our parents longed to be reunited with our family in the US.
After many efforts from our family here, we made it to the US in 1990. Again, carrying that bag with hundreds of photographs from Cuba, along with the new memories made with our unforgettable friends in Venezuela.
I owned my first camera when I was 16. A Canon point and shoot, 35mm film. I soon became the photographer for our family. Dad gladly delegated the responsibility to continue our family history. Soon thereafter, Karen joined in the passion of capturing our life through the lens; she owned her first camera at 14 and took her first photography class in 7th grade.
We became those friends that always bring a camera, and everyone relies on to have some nice photos of the event or outing. We didn’t mind, because we loved it so much! Our passion soon became our paycheck which has allowed us to serve families and help preserve their memories for the past 9 years.
Throughout all the years, dad collected all kinds of pictures from our family. Even photographs where we only knew one person, he kept them all! It was our history, our roots, our heritage. We love that we can see our ancestors and our homeland through these memories. Thank you daddy!