Yolanda, by Ignacio Navas.

Yolanda is a book about youth, Yolanda is a book about drugs, Yolanda is a book about AIDS. Yolanda is a book about the rise (short) and fall (long) of a teenager and her boyfriend who never completely succeed to become adults.


Ignacio calls his book a zine, but it’s a bit thicker and it can stand the comparison with books. With a white surprising softcover with a series of hand written style « Yolanda » watermark (similar to Fuji Crystal on the reverse of prints). I really like the cover which does not allow you to know what the book is about. 15,5 x 22 cm, 70 pages and 20 inserted pages of texts. Self published English and Spanish editions of 200 each.

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For me, the book works like « In search of lost time » by Marcel Proust. It all started with an old photograph from Ignacio’s baptism on which he was in a young woman’s arms. This becomes a quest to know more about this mysterious woman who will be slowly enlightened through the pages of the book.

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We don’t really know if the story is real, but it doesn’t really matter. This is the story of a generation whose youth was blasted. Teenagers who have grown up too fast. At the age of 20, they already have experienced so much that the only remaining thing in their life was boredom. That’s probably the summum of the book when they have a dog instead of a child (if they are not anymore teenagers, they did not get the adulthood maturity which would have allowed them to have a child) to fulfill their boring life and make them « Alive ». But despite the dog, Yolanda went back to drug and entered a detox center where she was diagnosed AIDS.


So yes, they lived fast, like one of their only possession, a Golf GTI (they can’t afford the yellow Ferrari and just stood beside for a photo) which reminds me « The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust » (David Bowie appears, like a twinkle on a wall of a room) !

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To complete and affirm his narration, Ignacio uses archive photographs mixed with contemporary photographs. The old photos work, as Frederic Lambert explained in his book « Mythographies », as some « effects of the real » which means that the poor quality of them, tells the truth (we know from Fontcuberta and Formiguera’s Fauna that it is completely false). We feel an empathy for Yolanda, because we all have, at home in our old family albums, such pictures of disapeared family members. Yolanda becomes our auntie disapeared too fast !


There are also texts inserted on « third sized pages ». The texts are written by Ignacio’s uncle whose Yolanda was the first girlfriend. They are between captions and explanations, like words which would have been said while watching the photographs. Some parallel souvenirs that outcrop when seeing the photos. Some sentences even seem unsure. Here again we feel a strong empathy, but this time through the memories of Ignacio’s uncle. Those souvenirs are extremely precise which here again « testify their truth » and help us to understand them.

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I have already told you that we don’t know if the story is real or not and this is the great strength of the book. We can therefore appropriate the tale of Yolanda. It is a sad tale which ended just before Christmas, 19 years ago, when Yolanda died. Uncle Gabriel was only 25 and his life was a big mess, Ignacio was 6 ! In the end of the 80’s and early 90’s, many people died of AIDS, and almost each of us knew someone who died. So this book is a fantastic tribute to all those beloved disappeared far too young !

More info on Ignacio’s site : http://www.ignacionavas.com/index.php/02/

And here : http://www.30y3.com/ignacio-navas-yolanda-2/

All images copyright Ignacio Navas.


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