Ana Aruajo – Viewpoint

I bought it, second hand, a few months after my divorce ten years ago. I figured I needed (and deserved) a new companion. It travelled with me to many different places. I had been photographing before, but this camera brought with it the challenge of learning to do something in a new way. I indulged in the rituals of choosing the films I would photograph with, of processing my own pictures. I remember fiddling with it in some awkward social situations that were new to me (to escape self-consciousness). There were times I became obsessively perfectionist about the quality of the photos I was taking.

Image Ana Aruajo

  Psychoanalysis talks about transitional objects, which presumably provide us with emotional comfort in unusual, unique life circumstances. This camera came to symbolise many aspects of my identity. It connected me to the creative world. It confirmed my taste for the old fashioned in the era of the digital. An expensive object, it also reminded of how much I relished being ‘selfish’: investing my time, my money and my energy on myself and on my own projects. I haven’t, however, used this camera for a while now. It was important for me to grow unattached to it – and not to let it rule, or ‘freeze’, my sense of identity. As my idea of who I am changes, I connect myself to different objects, knowing, deep down, that they will always be ‘transitional’: transient as memories, yet no less meaningful for their volatility.

Ana Araujo is an architect, teacher and researcher. She graduated and practised in Brazil prior to completing a PhD by Architectural Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, in 2009. As a practising architect, Ana has specialised mainly on residential projects. As a researcher, she was the curator and designer of the exhibition ‘Lina & Gio: the last humanists’, held at the AA in 2012, exploring the relationship of the work of Italian architect Gio Ponti and Italo-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. She has lectured and published internationally, including The Journal of Architecture and a recent book entitled Poetic Biopolitics: Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts (ed Peg Rawes/IBTauris). Ana has taught in various architecture schools in Brazil and the UK before starting to work as a unit master at the AA in 2010. Her main interests are on the crossovers between architecture and feminism, psychoanalysis, craft and theories of subjectivity. Ana is currently working on a book on American designer Florence Knoll.