(this page was last updated in August 2021)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1953.
Lives and works in London, United Kingdom.
PIPA 2021 nominee.
I discovered photography at the age of 15, in 1968, a troubled period in the political history of Brazil. Photography gave me a mixture of identity and freedom. I finally liked something, and there was no political risk, at least in my photos. Today, 50 years later, I consider my work as intuitive, I make images and videos, and file them in temporary folders. If the idea takes shape, the folder gains a title. If it has density, becomes a book. My personal history is inseparable from the images I’m drawn to. I grew up in an emotionally unstable home, as a child of holocaust survivors. I accepted instability as normality. Perhaps this is why my aesthetic seeks restlessness, elements of randomness, that thrust me to elaborate visually on the missing piece of a puzzle.
Video produced by Do Rio Filmes exclusively for PIPA 2021:
“anonymity“, 2021. Duration: 2’34”
“Bryant, a public park“, 2021. Duration: 2’45”
“Despojos“, 2021. Duration: 0’59”
I discovered photography at the age of 15, in 1968, a troubled period in the political history of Brazil. Photography gave me a mixture of identity and freedom. I finally liked something, and there was no political risk, at least in my photos.
My photography took shape, self-taught, Pentax in tow, I set up my darkroom to develop black and white film and paper at home, and I ended up becoming a knowledgeable darkroom technician. I photographed a lot on the street, my interest was people, emotions. In my mind, the influence of Cartier Bresson, Paul Strand, Eugene Smith.
In 1976, recently graduated in Economics at PUC-Rio de Janeiro, I decided that my path was photography. I convinced my parents to pursue photography academic training in NY, where my brother lived. At arrival, the immigration officer stamped my visa with 28 days …
I enrolled at the School of Visual Arts and New School for short term courses. At the New School I was lucky enough to take a 3-month course with the extraordinary Lisette Model, who taught Diane Arbus. I ended up adopting medium format, square negative, single lens. I got a used Rolleicord, later a Rolleiflex.
With the visa situation getting complicated, unable to work, my only option to stay in NY was to follow an academic path in economics / finance.
Having graduated in finance in 1978 from NY University, I returned to São Paulo in 1979, married and employed by a bank. I was still very active in photography, now focusing on compositions with street objects and structures, using medium format.
In 1981, for family reasons combined with professional challenges, I interrupted my activity in photography. My relationship with photography became essentially “family photos”.
I would only resume photography as a form of expression in 2006, 25 years later.
With 50+ years, distant from the arts for a long period of time, I needed to update myself. Back living in New York for business, I started taking courses at the ICP – International Center of Photography, with the hesitation of a novice.
In an Allen Frame course, a great photographer and curator, I felt a direction emerging. The orientation was for the student / photographer to have a project, to explore a theme. Each one was asked to bring to the next class an account of an emotional experience they were having, to perhaps serve as the theme of the project.
In the next class, I shared the emotional challenge that my wife and I were experiencing on parenting our 8 years old son. My challenge was to photograph my family with a critical eye and to tell the good and hard home moments story. In 2012, I edited a photobook (Blurb), my first book, entitled “Home”. I dedicated it to my wife as a Mother’s Day gift.
Identified with the photobook format, I finished my second project in 2015. “Bryant Park, a public park”. The book seeks to portray the experience of a refuge nestled in midtown Manhattan. Surrounded by buildings on all sides, the park is a mental oasis, reminding me of the Brazilian expression “In the square is where we reunite with mankind”
In 2020, my third project “Despojos”, with most of the images taken during the pandemic. The book portrays objects, things left behind, forgotten, which however do not disappear, do not die. On the contrary, they transform themselves and take on a new life.
“Anonymity”, my most recent project, a work in process, aims to reveal the individuality hidden in the midst of the anonymity of a multitude. Most of the photos are taken at Oxford Circus tube station in London.
To access the books, click on the links bellow. Once on the website, click on the arrow for full screen.