TRIALS encapsulates the frictions of reality, wounds from survivors, and the ambiguity of human conflict.

When I moved to New Mexico at the end of 2019, my preoccupation with death morphed into an obsession for life. I’ve been overwhelmed with the intensity of living. The desert, the pandemic, and the new changes in my life was enough to throw me into a thirst for truth. This led me to create TRIALS, imagery encapsulating the frictions of reality, wounds from survivors, and the ambiguity of human conflict. Ultimately, I’ve realized it reflects my own life.

I began thinking of death as the absence of trial and conflict. There’s a sense of struggle and pain in life which is integral to existence; of what I call, being up against yourself. My photographs streamline our narratives into a visual record of indignation, healing, growth, and victories. TRIALS’ embodies human existence and the experiences associated with it. Of suffering and mortal fear, relief and ordeal, directness and brutality, a liberation with no winners. What I create is an access point to myself, as well as an attempt to enter the collective human experience.

The people pictured in TRIALS besides myself: Marcia Reifman, brothers Aaron & Russell Garcia, and Eddie Zaidi are individuals I met here in my neighborhood. I befriended them because of the way they live life, which goes against the world I was brought up and expected to live in. As we grew closer, I began talking with each of them about this project, as well as the desire to witness their turmoil and feel their secrets.

This led me to create The Refuge, which is a studio/structure that looks like an arena where I have constructed my photographs. It’s a space meant to absorb personal histories and energies every time it is used, and felt again the next time when entering. To collect narratives and de-compartmentalize those stories throughout the timeline of the structure’s existence. Here, stories of survival are shared, photographs are performed and recorded.

TRIALS is about people becoming testimonies to events that happened but are no longer there. In other words, it's about acknowledging ourselves becoming a living memorial to the realities we forget. For that reason, I also include thermoplastic masks of mesh used in cancer radiation therapy. The masks belonged to people and families in New Mexico, and some were lost in hospitals. For me, this is a clear bridge to work with flesh and spirit.

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Access


© Andrés Mario de Varona - Beginning


© Andrés Mario de Varona - Pillar's Arm

Pillar's Arm

© Andrés Mario de Varona - To See Myself Alive

To See Myself Alive

© Andrés Mario de Varona - My Signature

My Signature

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Hand of a Veteran

Hand of a Veteran

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Stomach Pain

Stomach Pain

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Wings


© Andrés Mario de Varona - The Gray Room

The Gray Room

© Andrés Mario de Varona - 15 Mouths, or Independence

15 Mouths, or Independence

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Brail Wall

Brail Wall

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Witnesses


© Andrés Mario de Varona - Deflect / Armor

Deflect / Armor

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Sharon's Radiation Mask

Sharon's Radiation Mask

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Tethered by Voice

Tethered by Voice

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Atomic Crown

Atomic Crown

© Andrés Mario de Varona - Needing Wishes

Needing Wishes

Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Stay in the loop