“I would like to see you again”. With this note, which eventually became the cover of the photo book about a breakup, the relationship between Paula Tudela and her boyfriend Fer, German, began in 2018. They met in 2016 at an electronic music festival in the middle of nowhere, an hour away from Berlin. He was 24 and she was 20. They both wore the same jacket and had a boyfriend in common. They didn’t talk much that day, but both had noticed the other. “I remembered you,” she writes. Two years later they met again at the same festival. “And I kissed you. It was an explosive night.” The next day, Paula discovered the note in her backpack. And two years later, they broke up. The end is a compilation of short texts and photos about their relationship and the method that helped their author, the breakup to overcome: to share them.
“It was total therapy,” explains Tudela, who is now 26. “At the time, I was doing my Masters in Photography and Editorial Design in Barcelona and I didn’t feel capable of making a book about beautiful things. For months my homework was going through all the photos with my ex, choosing them and crying.” I kept the bracelets from the festival they both returned to for four years; that note from him in the backpack and the first gift that he made her when she moved to Berlin with him: a notebook in which Fer wrote everything he wanted to do with it, leaving the right-hand page blank his girlfriend will include a photo as they fulfill those plans: “Phototour We will discover Berlin and take lots of photos”; “I want to go to Bavaria with you. I’ll show you the mountains, the secret places in Munich, nature and you’ll get to know my family…”.
Note that Fer was left in Paula’s backpack, on which he wrote, “I want to see you again.” Courtesy of Paula Tudela
Paula has also kept any notes she wrote after the breakup to help us understand each other better, like one where she underlines a word ‘hate’ in pencil and says, ‘This will be our secret from now on. I still think about you Don’t tell them I chose you again, I moved back to Berlin for you; I still hope our kids are as blonde as you were when you were little.” (…) I wish you were here with me. Maybe I wouldn’t hate you as much as I hate you sometimes.”
Notebook with plans that Paula’s boyfriend gave her when he moved to Berlin. Courtesy of Paula Tudela
When they met, he was living in Madrid, had just graduated in Audiovisual Communications and was working in a casting room. He reminds her in the book, “From there, our connection grew stronger. Romantic texts and video calls were part of our routine. Whenever we could, we visited each other. Living in different countries wasn’t ideal, but it made the trips that much more special.” The lyrics of The End are so short, rhetoric, accompanied by images that illustrate a moment or a feeling, in this case the recordings of the Wesap, sent from a distance of 2,300 kilometers.
Note from Paula after the breakup, along with a picture of her ex. Courtesy of Paula Tudela
In 2019 she decided to go to Berlin. “We made almost all of the plans he wrote in that notebook, although I printed the photos on the pages he left blank for them and pasted them after we had already parted,” he says. “Photography was one of our mutual interests, so we took a lot of pictures of us together and apart.” He particularly liked the opening line of their relationship, that simple, direct and honest “I would love to see you again” and one more, later , in which he writes to her with a red marker: “Paulita, my love: I can’t wait to see you again.” be with you again. I’ve been falling in love with you for the last two days and my future tells Paula in big ones , red capital letters. It’s the one he’s read the most. “When I do that, I’m like, ‘Wow, we were really in love.’
Pictures of Paula and her boyfriend along with a declaration of love he wrote to her. Courtesy of Paula Tudela
In Berlin she worked as a freelance photographer, as an assistant to another photographer and in an analogue photo shop. But he explains in the book, “Moving there had a bigger impact than I expected. I felt lost and uncomfortable and our constant fights and misunderstandings only made it worse. We did a lot of nice things together, but was that really what I wanted?
The following pages have collected some images of that good time, such as frames from a video a friend took of them embracing on the subway after they had both had dinner with their parents in Berlin. In August 2019, the festival where they met announced its latest edition. “The initials of the festival were ND, as in, Ende in German. Maybe it was a sign of our near future.”
Stills from a video of the couple taken by a friend on the Berlin U-Bahn, courtesy of Paula Tudela
In March 2020, they made their last trip to the beach together. “But pleasure and frustration were part of our language.” “You broke up with me in June 2020.” Paula thanks him today: “When I was doing the book, I realized how bad our relationship was going. When you’re so in love or so addicted, you stop acknowledging what’s wrong. I wasn’t able to make the decision and he made it for both of us.”
Paula then uncovers the photos and notes that express everything she felt from that moment: “I missed you, despised you, forgave you, regretted everything and want to call you again.” where did you land where did i start She went to her parents’ house to look at albums from her childhood, to re-read old diaries. “I was so consumed with the relationship that after the breakup I not only had to forget him, but also remember who I was before I met him,” she says.
The final pages record their last email exchange in December 2020, with whole sentences crossed out down to single words: “forgiven”, “loved”, “accusations”; “painful”, “fighting”, “ripe”; “friendship”, “yet”. Also a post-it on which she wrote: “If we ever meet again, will you promise me I won’t be able to smell you like I used to?” And another note that says, “At least if we ignore each other, we’ll still do something together.” He asks: “Does our history repeat itself with similar sentiments and a different name? Who will replace you? And he later says goodbye: “Now that time and distance have made everyone go their own way, I no longer feel the need to answer any of those questions: what was and what wasn’t. What is not. This is my story, but also my degree. Thanks for making me feel.”
One of the couple’s goodbye emails, intercepted by Paula Tudela
Paula has presented the photo book in Madrid, Barcelona, New York and Berlin, the cities where she has lived. “I always end up asking the public to ask themselves what they would say to their ex and put it on a post-it. I have many written in Spanish, Catalan, English and German. Some are funny: “Your mouth tasted like doner kebab and I’m a vegetarian”. Other very sad: “They say it takes as long to get over someone as the relationship lasted. Then what am I still thinking about you?
Notes to Answer the Question What Would You Tell Your Ex? that Paula Tudela collects in the presentation of her photo book. Cedida by Paula Tudela
When he went to Berlin a few days ago to present Das Ende, he saw Fer. “The match was a bit intense, but it was good. He already knew about the book because when I finished it I sent it home to him. He sent me a very nice message saying he was very proud that I made it. As I recovered and remembered who I was, I realized I didn’t want to put him down or present myself as a hero for hurting me, but he also made me feel like.” Paula protected her image — her Face never appears in full – and her anonymity – her ex’s last name is never given.
The note – “I’d love to see you again” – is still perfect. Deserving of the cover of a book sold in bookstores and museums today, it deserves – too – a good memory.
Cover of The End photo book by Paula Tudela, courtesy of Paula Tudela