This is a trip with stops in four ruptures, two continents, three families, one syringe, at least five erect penises, half a dozen necks and another line of cocaine and countless friends.
It is the journey of Rocío Aguirre (Santiago de Chile, 33 years old) and her transit through the sea between young and adult again in
a photo album until now private and today turned into an autobiographical book by Paripé Books.
Her story, personal and non-transferable, is, at the same time, that of every twenty-something who finds himself one day in the real world, looks for himself in others, destroys himself, rebuilds himself, looks at himself and, in the end, grows.
Aguirre, one of the largest fashion photographers in Chile (and, increasingly, in Spain), takes self-portraits without showing her face at all.
She does it in a hundred-odd pages of raw, intimate and, at best, slightly scandalous images.
There is no text.
Only photographs taken out of context, everyday, sometimes cryptic, a universe of breakups, longings and a lot of night, a ballad of her sexual independence (the book owes a lot, spiritually and aesthetically, to Nan Goldin's Ballad of Sexual Dependence)
along length and breadth of five relationships, the longest that Aguirre has had with men in the last 15 years, leading to the current one, with Antón Álvarez Alfaro, better known as C. Tangana.
"I don't think men are the important thing in the book," defends Aguirre now, his eyes burning under his long hair, before possible ill-considered.
“The cycles of romance, if that.
Being in love is when I take photos the most, until I realize that this is already stagnating, that love is ending.
And the best photos come right there, in the separations, the strongest moments.
The same thing happens to musicians: they compose either with a super broken heart or super crush.
Relationships are the mirror of the soul.
Rocío Aguirre's personal belongings in a box in 2008, in one of the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
His soul, specifically, is reflected in analogue photographs, a format to which Aguirre became accustomed when he began to study the trade in Santiago de Chile: "I had no choice because I had no money to buy a digital camera."
This is the format of the first images in the album, youthful, innocent, almost virginal portraits of the countryside, the beach and the family.
Then an important photo arrives, the one on page 19 of the book.
"My first boyfriend," announces Aguirre.
"In the book I introduce each boyfriend from the back of the neck."
"I don't know.
It is a fetish that I have in men.
A nape is pretty."
A moment of intimacy in Chile in 2008, between the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
Important facts about boyfriend number one: Chilean, musician.
Famous: "I prefer that you do not say his name."
Older: "He was 24, I was 18 when I met him ."
Like other first couples in the history of mankind, he had an important lesson to teach about the world: “Being an entrepreneur.
He taught me how to get people interested in your work, to be the leader within a project that you invent,” Aguirre recalls now, with a trace of affection on his face.
The style of the photos changes after the nape.
The beach, friends and cars continue to be shown, but there is something more carnal, much more uninhibited, in these images.
For the first time, there are nudes, of the two, together, alone.
“The chapters look really nice at first,” she says.
“Our intimate life, which is repeated with the other boyfriends.
Then here it begins to go to a dark side.
He turns the page.
One of the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
“He was addicted to ketamine, in fact, he talks about it a lot in his songs.
That began to twist the relationship.
I don't take drugs: I've tried, but I don't use anything regularly.
For me it was a conflict.
Is this what success should look like?
Is this what you should do because he inspires you as an artist?
What happens to almost all of them ended up happening to the relationship, which ended.
And that the break gave a new meaning to all of the above, quite literal in this case: “he left me for a boy.
After me, she started dating men.
In fact, he is now married to one, ”announces Aguirre.
“It took me a lot, being so young, to understand it.
Being alone, like a baby lost in the city.
It wasn't something against me, it can happen to anyone, but he left my ego on the ground.
It seemed to me that it was my first lesson with love, that love was going to always be like that”.
Because if love wasn't going to be like this forever, the question was even crueler: hadn't she been enough?
Self-portrait of Rocío Aguirre, among the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
In the odysseys one is expected to go down to Hades, sometimes as literally as Odysseus.
Aguirre may not have done it, but he did begin to live the night.
And the night she took her to Berlin.
“The typical thing when you break up with someone and go on a trip because you say: 'Since I'm not going to run into her, she's going to forget me.'
But you don't really stop thinking about that person."
The night became a tool to manage that first rupture, the most violent of all: it can be seen in the photos of neon lights, spotlights, early mornings, concerts.
It's like Stephen Shore went on a spree with Wolfgang Tillmans.
You see portraits of anonymous men, passengers, naked.
And also naked.
"This was a girlfriend I had, something I just realized two days ago," Aguirre stops.
"I never knew how to explain it.
She's a friend of hers, but sometimes we get involved and it's a very emotional thing, but I fell in love with other people, but I felt in love with her and I wish I was more of a lesbian to be with her, but I didn't feel capable.
The other day she called me: 'I just realized that our relationship was a polyamorous relationship.
finally I put a name to it.
I had a polyamorous relationship in 2010.”
Turn the page.
Another nape has arrived.
Rocío Aguirre's second boyfriend, in 2014, in one of the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
Important information about boyfriend number two: graphic designer, fair artistic vocation and, most fundamentally: "Very heterosexual."
Few things dialogue like a new boyfriend with the wound left by the previous one.
“This was a boy who played soccer.
More traditional, that was also a break from my creative side.”
It was already 2014 and what follows is an almost abstract hurricane of unmade beds, bodies, curves, textures, beach, travel... "And here I realize that my super straight boyfriend had been unfaithful to me," adds Aguirre as he turns the page. and point out the photo of a jacket with a spectacular minga drawn on the back.
The jacket of the lover of Rocío Aguirre's second boyfriend, in 2014, in one of the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
“Long before we lived together I had found a shelter in his house.
It was female.
'How cool is this fur coat, give it to me.'
I don't know what she said to me: 'No, it's from a friend I don't know what'.
'Well, he has lost it.
I keep it, ”she recalls.
“A year later, I got toxic at a time when I suspected there was something and I looked at her cell phone.
And there was a conversation where a girl was saying, 'Hey, give me back my coat.'
I looked a little more and, of course, he had been unfaithful.
I felt like a jerk.
She had proposed to me not long ago and I had said yes.
So I spray-painted a dick on the coat and gave it to him.
'You can give it back now.'
She pauses for reflection: "How toxic."
The next photo is of a steering wheel attached with a chain and padlock.
And without a solution of continuity, it is 2016 and we are facing another neck.
Rocio Aguirre's third boyfriend, in 2016, in one of the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
Important facts about boyfriend number three: again, a musician, albeit an amateur.
Aguirre was already 26. Divorced, three children.
One week with the kids and another without.
And without the risk of infidelity due to hypersexualization.
"It was a slightly different love," celebrates Aguirre.
“He was an amazing father.
I realized that not all parents were actually sons of bitches."
Subsection: Aguirre's father was unfaithful to his mother and that is why, when she was a child, the couple divorced her.
This chapter is luminous, and, at times, the first that does not distance itself from objects.
The children are portrayed as is, one splashing in the water, the other with that gesture between bored and irritated that pre-adolescents make so much.
A sad face with the message: “I am you”.
And, from there, in 2018, the end.
“I found myself trapped in a reality that was not the one I wanted.
All that thing that I thought was beautiful, I don't know what in the family, suddenly it sounded to me like: 'I'm 27 years old.
I have to have a child and I don't know if I want to, you know?
So I said: 'I'm going to Spain'.
One of the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
The summary that Rocío Aguirre makes of this Spanish phase in the interview is: "Here I was no longer so shy."
What she does in the book is to show three different guys with erections, three girls in different phases of undress, makeup, tattoos.
Unfocused people with a bad face when they wake up.
“This is a new nape, but very short, so it is not expressed like the others either”.
A fourth boyfriend, if you can call him that.
Musician (“You can call me 'music lover' or heavy”).
In Chile, in Spain.
Open relationship, to call it somehow.
We were still together but there was still a party in between ”, she recalls.
“Then she told me that he wanted to close it and I told him no.
I said yes because I thought that she was going to make it and I couldn't ”.
More party photos.
And one more nape, the last, the definitive one.
The musician C. Tangana, in 2020, in one of the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
Important facts to know about boyfriend number five: C. Tangana, Pucho, Antón, somewhat younger than Aguirre: 30 years old in 2020. Also a musician, perhaps one of the biggest stars of music in Spanish in the world after the release of
The man from Madrid
in February 2021. There are actually three in the relationship: she, him and his fame, which threatens to make Aguirre a
"Man, that's a pain in the ass.
Having a successful career in Chile, wanting to try more, I come to Spain, I keep working on my own and suddenly I am the
girlfriend of ",
“But I think we know how to take care of him very well.
We never pose together and we upload few things to social networks.
It is not a hidden relationship nor do I refuse to talk about it.
But you have to separate things."
Something that connects this relationship with the others: the photos of various moments of crisis.
Something that makes it unique: there is life after those crises.
The photo of Tangana on these lines is one of them.
The fat crisis broke out in January 2021, shortly before Tangana launched
just buried Madrid in snow.
"What was missing now, that the world would freeze."
But the relationship continues.
Beach photos, light, color, fooling around with the style of Martin Parr are back.
There is even the most famous pop yacht in recent years, the one in that viral summer photo of 2021.
One of the photographs of 'Rocío [2008-2022]'.ROCÍO AGUIRRE
Does your last boyfriend come out different from the others because he is a star?
Just some prior negotiation.
“There was a photo of Antón that was much more explicit.
And at first, when I told him: 'I'm putting the book together and I want to put this one', he told me: 'Okay'.
But when he started to see it mounted on the wall with all the other photos he said: 'I'm the only one who can see my dick and face and they can recognize me.
I do not know if I want'.
We don't need to show our intimacy that stark."
This is not a complete portrait of Rocío Aguirre.
Needless to say, she takes photos for publicity and record labels, fashion magazines and agencies.
It also remains to say what a psychoanalyst might add: that there is a very important man who is neither seen nor alluded to on the album.
"When my parents separated, I wanted to throw out all the photos of my father."
Missing is that Shell commercial agent who took Rocío from city to city throughout Chile as a child, who got her used to always moving and with her landscape as her only constant companion;
the man from whom she learned to mistrust love and her father figures a little.
The one who one of those weekends after the divorce that they had to spend together and in which they did things like go to fly a kite on the beach, gave him a compact camera and said: "Here, take the opportunity to take pictures" .