These words come from a recorded oral autobiography of the artist's grandmother made shortly before she died.


It was kind of dumb - I should have written everything down, every day. It would have made a nice book - we had seven children. A new one every other year. My parents always said, "He comes home, knocks you up and leaves again." They were right, in a way. I had to fend for myself - it was so cold in winter that the walls were covered with ice and when spring came, it melted onto the floor. One year, one of the little ones broke her leg. I made a hot water bottle for her. It froze in her bed. That's how cold it was. And I had to look after the animals too. I fed the sheep and the pigs first thing in the morning. And then the children went to school. I got them ready, combed the girls hair and then the washdays, they were really hard. I don't know how I managed it all. 

So time's gone by and we're old now - old.


There are sparsely populated regions in which the traces of human beings can be interpreted as signs of their absence. These signs are what interest Ester Vonplon in the series Ruinaulta.

In her portraits, she shows this absence by rephotographing and through long exposures, reducing human beings to eery apparitions. At the same time, she leads us into atmospheric landscapes and makes us linger between poetry and reality. The viewer is challenged to imagine the stories that might lie there.

The series Ruinaulta came into being in the early morning hours and crisp cold of the Rheinschlucht gorge, with an old Polaroid camera that was pushed to the limits of its capacities. Chance also played an important role in the creation of these images, which are covered with a grey haze that gives them a mystical air.

— Marina Porobic

A slideshow of Ester Vonplon's book, Cudesch da Visitas, can be found here.

Editor's note: We first discovered and met  Ester Vonplon at Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam in 2012, and then again at the Biel-Bienne Festival of Photography in Switzerland.