shado first contacted Argentinian documentary photographer Sofia Bensadon earlier this year regarding her ongoing photojournalism project in Bolivia which will be featured in the print edition of Issue 2. ‘50 KL’ documents the lives of Bolivian women in La Paz taking up space in the traditionally male profession of construction. She wrote of the project in 2017, “This photo series depicts only one chapter of the lives of these women: their work. This is my tribute to them. They are making history in Bolivian society: women that face life with resilience, in a male world, with determination and a clear objective: to place all their effort in the betterment of their families and the status of women in their homeland.”
Watch this space for the release of Issue 2 where you will be able to see and read more about the trailblazing Mujeres Constructoras.
We spoke to Sofia about a personal project she had undertaken after a period of self-reflection following her trips to La Paz. While documenting the strong women defying stereotypes in Bolivia, she thought more about the patriarchal structures which exist in her home of Argentina, and specifically the women closest to her who are similarly disrupting the narrative.
“Upon documenting the work and lives of different female construction workers with a camera in La Paz, Bolivia, I begin to think about the lives of the women in my own family.
I think about my maternal grandmother, a gymnastics teacher. She was widowed
at the age of 44 and kept on going with her three children.
I think of about my mother who started travelling for work when I was 16 years old and would be absent for days at a time.
In my house there was always an empty space. This emptiness made me question the position of women in my family. What position do I want to occupy as a woman? And more than anything else, what kind of woman do I want to be in society?
Maternal Heritage is a self-portrait linking together three generations.
Reflecting on this experience, I decided to invite my brother, father and paternal grandfather to create the same image.”
Translation from Spanish to English by Grace Brown.
Original text here:
“Al adentrarme con una cámara en el proceso de documentar el trabajo y el habitar de diferentes mujeres trabajadoras de la construcción en La Paz, Bolivia me llevo en paralelo o a modo de contrapregunta a reflexionar sobre la vida de las mujeres de mi propia familia.
Pienso en mi abuela materna, profesora de gimnasia. Quedo viuda a los 44 años y saco adelante una familia con 3 hijos.
Pienso en mi madre, que cuando yo tenia 16 años ella empezó a viajar por trabajo y se ausentaba de casa por varios días.
En mi casa, había un lugar que había quedado vacío. Esa ausencia me hizo cuestionarme sobre el lugar de la mujer en mi familia. Sobre el lugar que yo quiero ocupar como mujer pero más que nada, quién quiero ser como mujer en esta sociedad.
Herencia Materna, es un autorretrato que encadena 3 generaciones.
En espejo a esta experiencia decidí invitar a mi hermano, mi padre y mi abuelo paterno a realizar el mismo retrato.”