“If I Forget You, Rosario” is an exploration of my mother’s enigmatic past in Uruguay. It is my attempt to understand the paradox of a place that keeps shifting in my mind, despite my memory’s attempt to somehow preserve it.

Growing up, my mother told me little of her past. I knew her hometown of Rosario to be vitally important, but the contents of her life were always veiled. Eventually my disconnection became too self evident, so I spent nearly a year navigating Uruguay myself.

This project is a fragmented interpretation of my mother’s history. It covers all the people she loved and left: the denizens and ghosts who give Rosario its flavor. My images examine the interplay between three generations and their relationship to the town that threads their lives together.

Rosario is, at once, suspended in time and marked by it. The place appears almost untouched, yet the people within continue to pass and change. Many of the beloved figures from my mother’s youth are now dead, while others have aged and borne children.

My images grope for the Uruguay of other eras. But they also accept our inability to understand a past that remains forever concealed and altered by the passage and distortions of time and memory.

—Antonio Ysursa