By Altamash Urooj


Portraits of my Grandfather

This man. This man is my mother's father. Even in his old age, he did something unbelievable. He traveled from Caracas, Venezeula to Miami, just to spend a few days with his grandson.

Even at 89 years old, he got out of bed, and with the help of my stepgrandmother, a Columbian woman who's loved him for years he managed to get on a plane in a city that's collapsed upon itself due to economic disasters and make his way to The United States to see me.

I’ve lived thirteen thousand kilometers away from my grandfather my whole life. Only saw him every other summer as a child. When I would laze about or nap on the couch as a teen he would cryptically come up to me and repeat these words :

‘Despierta, no duermas,

Bebe vino,

Juega con los bucles de tu amada,

Que para dormir, hay siglos’

‘Awaken. Don’t sleep.Drink wine.Play with the locks of your lover. For sleeping,you have centuries ahead.’

The source of the words was always unclear, but the message was crystal.

I knew I wanted to take portraits of him, and decided to shoot at least one film with my new Hasselblad 500c. 

I got to really push the Hassie's limits with a low lighting situation as my grandfather couldnt stand in the sun. The sun was way down already too.

I do love the seriousness of the portraits, though we ended up having a ball of a time shooting them, with lots of good humor and games.

Altamash UroojComment