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Dennese Victoria
Days Spent With Pretend Family

In October 2016 I began working on what I had then called a fake family album. I was thinking very deeply about how easy it can be to fake intimacy. Having filmed documentaries as well as advertisements that used the pretence of a documentary, I would always encounter the pressure to perform for the image.

As the person behind the camera one knows when something is not there anymore. Needing material to match the narrative, in some cases you ask people to look a certain way, to smile, to do things they haven’t done in a while, things they don’t feel like doing anymore.

An invitation to pretend, an opportunity for an alternate life lived in photographs – Where can we go if we begin with this agreement? I searched for characters, at first preferring people who “had lived through something,” but then ending up with people who, as I was to learn, were merely generous enough to lend me time while I realised that though I had been telling them to pretend, I had also been asking for something true, for something real.

I found a house. My brother joined the project and then the questions changed. Who was I, and why was I there? A photographer, yes, but was I family? Am I a friend? What were our obligations to each other? How much can memory be recalled, reimagined, replaced?

We will have been young – Photo Exhibition

Dennese Victoria * 1991, Philippines

Dennese Victoria | Days Spent With Pretend Family © Dennese Victoria Dennese Victoria’s images revolve around the themes of truth, memory and personal history. She studied journalism at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, and in 2012 attended the Angkor Photo Workshop in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Her on-going series on her family “Birds, Curtains and Objects” has been shown as a slideshow in Manila, Singapore and India, and most recently in print as part of the Young Talents Program of the 2017 La Quatrième Image Festival in France.

  • Dennese Victoria | Days Spent With Pretend Family 1 © Dennese Victoria
  • Dennese Victoria | Days Spent With Pretend Family2 © Dennese Victoria
  • Dennese Victoria | Days Spent With Pretend Family3 © Dennese Victoria