Between 1975 and 1995, a group of elderly German nuns living in Lima, Peru, acted as the intermediaries for the adoptions of dozens of impoverished, illegitimate or unwanted children, finding them homes across Europe and the United States. They maintained contact with them from afar, exchanging photographs and letters. In 1979, I was one of them.
In 2011, I returned to Lima after 32 years to meet these nuns and discover my place of birth. While in Lima, I divided my time between walking the city and visiting the elderly nuns who lived within the confines of a small convent. I also spent hours studying the nuns’ photographic archives—mostly old pictures of orphans awaiting adoption or children recently adopted and their new families. My photographs oscillate between the world of the nuns and their archives and a hot Lima summer.
Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru in 1979. She received an MFA in Photography from the University of Notre Dame in 2004 and has exhibited nationally at such venues as Art Basel Miami 2011, Art Market San Francisco, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China. She is the recipient of multiple artist grants and residencies including from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Center for Photography Woodstock, and Gehe8 in Dresden, Germany. Her work has been published in Nueva Luz and Camerawork. She is currently living and working abroad.