Photographed by Gianluca Urdiroz Agati

A punch, a car crush, a body hitting the ground… Action scenes come to mind when I think about impact. It’s often physical, fast, loud and dramatic. However, the last few months I’ve been thinking of the deep and silent ways of emotional impact. Of how there are moments that may not have been physically impactful, not even dramatic, and still they resonate in the future with an intensity that wasn’t there when you lived it.

 Paco Robles in his home in England.

In mid-August of 2016 my grandmother passed away, she had been ill for a few months. It happened slowly enough for most of us to expect it, but so quick during the last days not to be able to say a proper farewell. At 7am I was at home and I received an SMS from my mom who was in the hospital, confirming that would be an important day in my life. Calm, I went out to the window and saw a softly warm summer morning in a city that was starting a new day. Nothing seemed to have changed in the life around, the landscape or in the city, and yet I knew deep in myself that a lot had just happened in my life. In the future years there’d be moments, apparently random, maybe late at night, maybe travelling in a train, that will trigger deep feelings I didn’t feel at the time.

Shells that Maria Josefina collected the first time she returned to Spain after being sent to England, in 1952.

In April of 2017 I was interviewing a woman called Maria Josefina for a documentary project at my second year in Uni. As I was filming the interview, I asked her to start by introducing herself. She said her name, she explained how in 1937, when she was only 12, her parents had put her on a boat to England, as a way of saving her from the Spanish Civil War, and how she ended up living here the rest of her life. Maria Josefina started recalling her hometown in Spain, ‘such a beautiful place…’, she stopped and started crying softly.

Maria Josefina at her current home

In March of 2017 I was going to photograph Paco Robles, another one of the 4000 children that were in the same boat as Maria. Every now and then he would repeat that his wife had passed away a few years ago, then in the house there were many pictures of her hanging around. During the interview talking about his experience as a War Refugee Child, and growing up in a foreign country, I asked him whether he had ever thought what his life would have been like if he had never experienced that. He paused and said that he didn’t know if things would have been better, but he knew for sure that he wouldn’t have met his wife. It’s strange to think why certain moments, places and people have such deep roots within our emotions, and how their power resides not as much in the present as they do in the future, when their memories are less expected.

Paco showed me newspapers he appeared on saying “People like you are making me famous”

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