Photography No secrets in the family

No secrets in the family

Anna Frattini

Often, the family dimension is absorbed by the unspoken, which chase us for much of our lives. Peter Pflügler, a visual storyteller and photographer, wants to stigmatize this dynamic by recounting a very painful moment from his family’s past. Now is not the right time speaks precisely to this – with a startling delicacy – and opens a reflection on the weight of hidden secrets behind families that appear happy or genuinely unhappy.

The name of this project stems from a memory of a moment when Pflügler was about to have a long-hidden secret revealed to him, as the photographer revealed to W U Magazine in an interview last October. His mother, overcome with nervousness, uttered the words that gave the project its title: «Now is not the right time».

This is not only a story about a suicide attempt. This is about the impossibility of secrets, about what we are sharing when we hide. It is about pain inflicted out of love, about the complexity of silence, and the unexplainable sadness of a boy.

Peter Pflügler

When Pflügler was only two years old, his father attempted suicide, and for twenty years, his parents decided not to address the issue. Once this secret was revealed, it was almost natural for the photographer to begin a true investigation into this unspoken matter. Thus, Now is not the right time was born, a genuine visual story portraying the most familiar places belonging to Peter Pflügler and his family, culminating in the image of the embrace between two parents now free from the secret they carried for twenty years.

Mum, Dad, this is your trauma, that you kept wrapped up in countless colorful blankets and yet unknowingly handed over to me in a loving embrace. 
I will carry it with care.

Peter Pflügler

Peter Pflügler’s words are as delicate as his shots and – at the same time – they speak to us about extremely difficult topics to address within the family dimension. The sense of liberation and ordinary everyday life captured by the photographer also reminds us of how necessary it is to confront this type of trauma to carry it with us and make it constructive. Now is not the right time has also become a book, published by The Eriskay Connection in June 2023.

Peter Pflügler – born in Austria – is the winner of the Full Project Liquida Grant. His project will be on display at the Liquida Photofestival from May 2 to 5, 2024.

Written by Anna Frattini
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