“It takes work, pious effort, to see what you are looking at” . – Don DeLillo .
With this photographic project I intend to document Caracas in the current socio- economic context. The fridge as a metaphor. An iron box to safely store valuables. The safe that protects the most precious valuables for many Caracas’ residents: food.
Each refrigerator opens up the doors to the reality of the individuals who fill them. It reveals stories, hints, secrets, habits, tastes, intimate information. And from this intimacy we are able to identify ourselves, to recognize our differences and appreciate our similarities.
Different social strata, places and people portrayed through their refrigerator. A visual exercise that also speaks of individual and collective identity .
Make sure to read the interviews corresponding to each fridge below.
The Safe is part of the collective project tutored by photographer Rita Leistner: “8×8 . Eight days Eight Photographers. Caracas 05/04/2016 – 12/04/2016”.
Interviews – Mind the exchange rate “working” in Venezuela due to the impossibility of freely exchange currency (Government restrictions and control of currency). The official exchange rate used is DIPRO 1$= 10Bs. Also keep in mind Venezuela’s inflation rate of approximately 700% and the severe economic and political crisis going on in the country.
- Ruiz Silva family. 6 members. Age: 86 – 81 – 58 – 47 – 32 – 5. Breakfast: Coffee, corn bread (arepa) or cheese sandwich. Lunch: soup or beans with rice. Juice. Dinner: Meat or chicken, rice, plantains or potatoes. Salad. Juice. They go to the supermarket every eight days to buy food. Approx. USD 2.000 (official exchange rate DIPRO – Same for all following interviews). “We do not get all we need, and things are very expensive”, “it’s been 20 days without sugar”. Francisca Ruiz.
- Rodriguez family. 2 members. Age: 21 – 65. Breakfast: coffee with milk or chocolate. Corn bread (arepa) or bread. Lunch: rice, salad, chop. Dinner: bread or biscuit with brown sugar water. Goes to the grocery store every day to see what he can get. Approx. USD. 1500. “You eat what you can in order to fill the belly”, “I can not get milk, it’s been a month without milk”. Eduardo Rodriguez.
- Cordero family. 2 members. Age: 55 – 37 Breakfast: corn bread (arepa) or bread with cheese or eggs. Lunch: rice, salad, chicken or beef. Dinner: corn bread (arepa) or sandwich with egg or cheese. Buys at the grocery store every 15 days. Approx. USD. 1100. Earns minimum wage. “Everything has changed. There is no juice”,”It’s hard to get potatoes and bread sandwich, is very expensive. Not enough money to buy food”. Valeria Cordero.
- Alfaro Hernandez family. 2 members. Age: 68 – 27. Breakfast: eggs, arepas with cheese and ham. Coffee with milk. Lunch: meat or chicken, beans, bananas, rice. Dinner: sandwich or oatmeal. Chocolate with bread. Goes shooping for food every 15 days. Approx. USD. 2800. “The fish became impossible to buy, inaccessible”, “I started eating bread, I had to resort to carbohydrates”. Lida Hernandez.
- Meza family. 2 members. Age: 58 – 21. Breakfast: corn bread (arepa) with cheese or sardine. Coffee. Lunch: Chicken with rice or vegetables. Dinner: ham and cheese sandwich or fruit. Buys when she can, she is replacing goods with others less expensive and easier to find. Approx. USD. 2000 per month. “I have two months without flour bread”, “I really eat twice a day because I can not afford food”. Zaida Meza.
- Delgado family. 4 members. Age: 76 – 75 – 67 – 21. Breakfast: corn bread (arepa) with cheese. Lunch: rice with salad, meat or chicken. Dinner: banana or corn bread. Buy food every day to see what you get. Spend her pension and her children give her. “We are hungry”, “I’ve never spent so much work to buy food as I do now”. Hilda Delgado.
- Family Mugueza Vaamonde. 4 members. Age: 67 – 63 – 32 – 31. Breakfast: corn bread (arepa) with cheese and ham. Coffee with milk. Lunch: chicken, vegetables, rice. Dinner: bread with ham and cheese. Buys groceries weekly. Approx. USD. 1500. “We had to learn to eat other things. Bread and fish as you understand are very expensive”, ” I can not make sweets or cakes because there is no milk or sugar. The eggs are very expensive too”. Gisela Vaamonde.
- Lizarraga family Cegarra. 5 members. Age: 56 – 50 – 29 – 20 – 3. Breakfast: corn bread (arepa) with cheese or pancake. Lunch: rice with meat or chicken and banana. Soda. Dinner: corn bread with ham. Goes grocery shopping every 15 days. Approx. USD. 2500. “I can’t get anything I need”, “When I find something, I buy a lot because I can wait in lines to buy food. I buy from the black market (bachaqueros)”. Celina Cegarra.
- Carrera family. 5 members. Age: 17 – 19 – 21 – 54 – 55. Breakfast: corn bread (arepa) with cheese and ham. Coffee with milk. Lunch: Chicken with rice and banana. Dinner: ham and cheese sandwich or pasta with sauce. Goes grocery shopping every eight days ago. Approx. USD. 1200. “The situation stresses me. You can’t find anything”,”I hardly drink juice anymore”. Beatriz Carrera.
- Welman Family. 2 members. Age: 72 – 45. Breakfast: bread with egg and lattes. Lunch: rice with pasta or grains. Liver or chicken. Dinner: egg, coffee and bread. Goes grocery shopping once a week. Approx. USD. 1500. “I’m eating full carbs”, “Everything has changed”. David Welman.
- Caridad family. 2 members. Age: 37-20 Breakfast: pancakes or scrambled eggs. Arepas, cereal. Lunch: cream of vegetable soup. Fish twice a week, twice a week chicken, pasta once a week and meat. Baked vegetables, potatoes, beans Dinner: vegetables, eggs, cereal, arepas, sandwich. Goes grocery shopping every 3 for major purchases. Approx. USD. 1700. “I had to change some things, consume less coffee less milk, more vegetables. There is little variety “,” I’m replacing things that normally didn’t”. Maite Caridad.
- Marquez Hindoyan family. 5 members. Age: 53 – 53 -40 to 5 – 4. Breakfast: arepas, empanadas, pancakes, eggs. Lunch: grilled chicken, sauteed vegetables, rice, salad, sauteed tenderloin, fried plantains. Dinner: sandwich, vegetable creams. Every week buy fruits and vegetables, turkey and cheese. Each month buys meat and chicken. Approx. USD. 20.000. “Before I went out and got everything I needed and spent less, now it is an obsession to go to the super market. We buy things in case we don’t see them again”. Jean Hindoyan.
- Biondi family Meza. 4 members. Age: 35 – 32 – 10 – 4. Breakfast: egg and arepas. Natural fruit juice. Lunch: chicken and beef with two contours (rice, beans, potatoes, vegetables and salads). Dinner: turkey and cheese sandwich, empanadas, pasta or salad. Goes grocery shopping every two weeks. The spending is very large. It makes her concious mentioning a figure. “We can go months without milk at home due to shortages in the country (this limits making pancakes, cachapas […]). When we can buy things bachaqueado (black market) per package we fill our fridge and freezer with these products taking up more space than normal. We can not buy all cravings anymore because they are a luxury”, “Every day we must pay more for food and make it last as long as possible. Actually skim milk in my house is the most worrying because it is very difficult to acquire”. Karina Meza.
- Moya family. 2 members. Age: 35-32. Breakfast: corn bread (arepas) with chicken or black beans. Lunch: Chicken with rice. Dinner: bread with ham. “In this situation there is nothing, one fed with what one gets”, “Before you could find everything and fast, no waiting in line. Now everything is very expensive and very difficult to get”. Juan Jose Vasquez Moya.
- Marquez Hindoyan family. 5 members. Age: 53 – 53 -40 to 5 – 4. Breakfast: arepas, empanadas, pancakes, eggs. Lunch: grilled chicken sauteed with vegetables, rice, salad, sauteed tenderloin, fried plantains. Dinner: sandwich, vegetable creams. Every week buys fruits and vegetables, turkey and cheese. Each month buys meat and chicken. Approx. USD. 20.000. “Before I went out and got everything and spent less, now it is an obsession to go to the super market. We buy things in case we do not see them again”. Jean Hindoyan.
- Herwin Flores. Age: 32. Breakfast: “It is difficult, bread”. Lunch: “The same because there is nothing, bread”. Dinner: rice or corn bread (arepa). “I eat badly, because of how the situation is right now”, “Yesterday we went out and did not get anything, couldn’t find anything. A friend went out at 10am and returned at 7pm with soap and six sardines”. Herwin Flores.