It was around 1995, wow… that’s quite a long ago…. I was one step closer to access University and I thought, at that time, that I wanted to be a journalist. I was eager to travel after any piece of news breaking somewhere in the world. Never assume anything… some unspeakable years after, I am not a journalist, but I have something to tell the world. This is a very special post for me, since it’s the closest I’ve ever been to being a reporter by interviewing someone that really matters, a woman that has something to say with her pictures and her strong message.
When Montse, the founder of Coachability Foundation, told me we could prepare a post on Jorgelina Álvarez, at first I thought: “OK, who is Jorgelina, and why is she special enough to write about her to be the center of my next post?” Montse sent me an article* about her and then something caught my attention immediately: She had spent one whole year in Antarctica and she had taken the time to keep record of her experience through some marvelous and astonishing pictures. A whole year! In Antarctica! So for someone like me, who adores traveling the world, this was a story I would like to know better and deeper for sure. I could give you some tips about her bio: she is a young meteorological observer on surface; she is an astrophotographer… but I’d rather you find out on your own, just the same way I did.
There’s plenty of info on her on the web and on her IG account: @astrolina_photography (it’s worth the visit). I was interested in her view as a woman and the challenges she had to face as so. I took a long shot and I tried to reach her by using her public gmail account. I wanted to inform her that I was going to write a post on her. To my delight, she answered back almost immediately, offering any further help and info I would need. She is a charm. She is such a lovely young woman! I can only have kind words towards her. The best way I can honor Jorgelina for being an example to any woman is by posting the e-mails we exchanged chatting about her and her view on women, work and her life.
11th March – 20th March
“Noelia (N) - I have been reading some of the interviews you’ve taken recently, especially in relation to astrophotography, and I have paid special attention to your Instagram profile and I must tell you that I find this vision that you are giving of the world and the Universe through the pictures to be very interesting and necessary. I think you have become a diffuser of an aspect of the world that it is quite unknown to ordinary humans. Expressing with images what you are living, as the privileged woman that you are, is a luxury, truly. Has it been difficult to get where you are right now? I’ve read that you had to pass a selection process with some physical and psychological tests.
Jorgelina (J) - Getting to where I am has been a path that had its stumbles but I always kept positive thoughts. As for arriving in Antarctica, I had to go through a selection process; first by a preselection (going through physical and psychological tests) and then by being selected to go to Marambio Base one of the Argentine Antarctic bases
(N) - As a woman, did you have any inconveniences or advantages? As a business woman myself, I am a teacher of my own English school, I have never had any bigger difficulty in creating my company because of being a woman.
(J) - I never felt any advantages or disadvantages for being a woman. I never let that influence when in the process of making a venture.
(N) - In the world of science, and especially in your field of expertise, do you feel the difference between men and women?
(J) - For several years it has been noticeable that women are making a difference, there is no difference in sex anymore. Every day many young people who give their lives for their profession are welcomed, resulting in a nice mixture of ingenuities in different branches of science.
(N) - On the other hand it is very interesting to know how you maintain your internal leadership to know what you want and what you like, in such extreme and isolated conditions, for most of the time. I believe that your job involves having many internal skills and abilities. Silence, loneliness and extreme conditions, as you mention in some interview, are only overcome and endured, as I mentioned with great strength and inner, mental and physical capacities.
(J) -I think that the keys to success are doing something with great humility and passion; following what we love doing so much.
(N) - Have you been developing these skills or did you already have them? I have been in Lapland these past Christmas, and I think it took me about 2 months to get rid of the cold inside my whole the body! LOL
(J) - Being in an extreme place, like Antarctica is, took me to know aspects of my personality that I did not know I had and I faced them with more strength. I had to stay strong mentally and physically.
(N) - As a woman you are undoubtedly an example, and I believe that with your photographs you have helped make your role as a scientist visible in a world which is assumed to belong mainly to men, and you have managed to put the Universe in a place closer to the rest of us. The world is known through the eyes of big monsters like NASA, but it’s always been from the outside point of view. I think you put this Universe on the map from the eyes of the Earth, like we can see it, and the truth is that I think it's very precious and valuable: and you're young and you're a woman. How is it handled? Does being a woman influenced in something?
(J) - Although we are few women in my country doing astrophotography, I do not let the fact of being a woman influence anything. I belive the best thing is to treat each other as human beings, which is what we are after all. I like to think that the word discrimination has ceased to exist and we are treating each other as so, without any covers or reservations.
(N) - And finally Jorgelina, what would you advise these women to whom this post is addressed, women who have suffered complicated living conditions, who want to be enterprising and go forward taking the reins of their lives? How do you reconcile your work with your personal life?
(J) - Never let anyone tell them what they have to do; ALWAYS follow that nice feeling every day to get up and work on what we like to do so much because that is what gives us strength and balance to undertake everything we want to do and with whom we want to do it.
I deeply thank you for your time,your predisposition and your help ¡
You are a great example! And in a personal way I will tell you that it is a pleasure to talk to someone who is on the other side of the world. My interest in the world and everything that happens in it is only enriched by expanding my connections and my personal relationships with people from areas and places completely different from mine.
Thank you for the opportunity
“ Love from Barcelona xoxo *
Pic by @astrolina_photography
Written by Noèlia Ribó.