As much as industrial development has brought improvements in Humanity’s standard of living worldwide, Man leaves his tracks in the immense and irreversible transformations and environmental damage inflicted on Nature, Urban and Rural Landscapes.
The black and white photograph for me is this: they are pictures with an air of mystery, of tension in the air. Mystery and tension suspended in the air as if in a micro second a posteriori there would be an explosion or another sudden change and everything would become different from this previous instant. For me, nothing like street photography to fill these pre-requisites.
[transform to survive and die] [walk and succumb]
[the flower that is beautiful also withers] [everything in life has its time]
[but some poet already said and I repeat: the water from the storm that scares is the same water that fertilizes the flowers in the garden]
photos: on the edge of a countryside road somewhere in the interior of my state of são paulo … but maybe my interior state too …
… I like the manifestations of nature’s architecture and men’s architecture … I really think that photography has a good part of its strength in geometries, textures, patterns and then architecture, both in nature and in which men practice, perform a strong role…
…. and the architecture that men practice, the architecture of the industrial revolution, is very impressive to me …
… here are some more examples of photographs I have taken during this pandemic period … I hope you like them ….
Our sister-companions of nature who are trees also always follow the courses of our rivers, lake margins protecting them by supporting their banks with their roots, softening the effects of the high temperatures of their waters with their shadows, offering refuge from predators and a breeding ground for aquatic animals.
For passers-by and photographers, like me, they give them everything they want: a view of the beauty of their trunks, branches and majestic crowns and their breathtaking reflection’s images in their calm waters of rivers and lakes.
In the Amazonian rivers there are many trees that are so prominent in the environment that they are called Notable Trees and are included in the mavegation maps. The featured image tree of this post is one of them.
Film photographs made in the 1990s and 2000s in the Brazilian Amazon Region.
Trees are also good companions for lonely walkers on the arid paths in life. They are always there to make your paths more beautiful and to offer you the taste of their fruits, the scent of their flowers and the friendly freshness of their shadows to restore our strength in a moment of rest.
I have always been passionate about the things of architecture in general. Especially for industrial architecture. I have always taken one or another photograph within this line of thought.
It turns out that a short time ago, I came across for the first time the fantastic world of the German couple, the Bechers, Hilla and Bernd, who revived in me this passion for industrial structures.
The photos shown in this post do not, of course, have the intention of imitating or emulating the fabulous work of the Bechers, but it only reflects – I think – what their work instigates me to seek out, these structures.
As I was born and live in the interior of the state of São Paulo and have roots in the countryside – and as I drive a few thousand kilometers a year on country roads – I have photographed some sugar and alcohol (ethanol) plants that have historically been part of these wonderful vernacular landscapes .
This series of photography that may one day become a project also includes water tanks in cities, and other structures from other types of industries that are usually found on the outskirts of these cities.
It is possible to find on the internet a great amount of good materials about the extensive production of the Becher couple. For example this one (post of February 2016 by Tom Wilkinson) is wonderful (https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/reputations/hilla-becher-1934-2015).
It´s important to say that the work I do in this series / project (only) bears some similarity to the great work of the German couple Becher, but in my case I do not seek to portray these small and REPEATING differences between these industrial structures. My records are more melancholy portraits of this industrial architecture, especially those of the sugar and alcohol plants that exist throughout the interior of the State of São Paulo that I keep in my affective memory since my childhood and adolescence.
Sempre fui um apaixonado pelas coisas da arquitetura em geral. Em especial pela arquitetura industrial. Sempre fiz uma ou outra fotografia dentro desta linha de pensamento.
Ocorre que há pouco tempo, deparei-me pela primeira vez com o mundo fantástico do casal alemão, os Bechers, Hilla e Bernd que reavivou em mim essa paixão por estruturas industriais.
As fotos mostradas neste post não tem, evidentemente, a intenção de imitar ou emular o fabuloso trabalho dos Bechers, mas apenas reflete – eu acho – o que o trabalho deles me instiga a buscar, por aí, essas estruturas.
Como nasci e vivo no interior do estado de São Paulo e tenho raízes do campo – e como dirijo alguns milhares de quilômetros por ano por estradas do interior – tenho fotografado algumas usinas de açúcar e álcool (etanol) que historicamente faz parte dessas maravilhosas paisagens vernaculares.
Essa série de fotografia que talvez um dia se transforme em um projeto inclui também caixas d´água das cidades, e outras estruturas de outros tipos de indústrias que geralmente se encontra nas periferias dessas cidades.
É possível se encontrar na internet grande quantidade de bons materiais sobre a produção extensiva do casal Becher. Por exemplo este aqui (post de Fevereiro de 2016 por Tom Wilkinson) é maravilhoso (https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/reputations/hilla-becher-1934-2015).
É importante dizer que o trabalho que faço nesta série/projeto guarda (apenas) alguma similaridade com o grande trabalho do casal alemão Becher, mas no meu caso não busco retratar essas pequenas e REPETITIVAS diferenças existentes entre essas estruturas industriais. Os meu registros são mais retratos melancólicos dessa arquitetura industrial, especialmente as das usinas de açúcar e álcool que existem por todo o interior do Estado de São Paulo que guardo na memória afetiva desde meus tempos de criança e adolescência.
[to find out what the path is like, if there are many stones that make it difficult for you to walk, if there are crossroads or junctions, you must cover it all the way; one can stop, rest and even momentarily take a branch; but if one wants to know the path initially taken, it is necessary to return to it and travel it along its entire length; only then will the path be revealed; and so it will be able to present you with pleasant surprises; dream your dreams and not someone else’s; never give up on your dreams; they are the paths that must be taken in life]
Inspirado num artigo escrito por Geoff Dyer chamado ‘forma: palavra + fotografia’ e publicado pela revista Zum em maio de 2014 encontrei ressonância para um aspecto de grande relevância para mim na fotografia que é ‘casamento da palavra com a fotografia’ ou da ‘fotografia com a palavra’. Para mim muitas vezes há, aí, um intercâmbio de papéis, i.e., de quem nasceu primeiro, como a história: ‘o ovo ou a galinha?’: ‘a palavra ou a fotografia?’.
Dyer cita alguns livros que historicamente encaixam-se nesta categoria e após ler seu artigo fiquei tentado em comprar um deles e acabei comprando o ‘Looking at photographs’ onde John Szarkowski ‘casa’ 100 fotografias do acervo do Museu de Arte Moderna de Nova York (as mais icônicas em sua perspectiva no ano de 1973, é lógico) com ‘palavras’ sobre tais fotos. Apesar de ter nas mãos o livro menos de 24 horas, já pude perceber verdadeiras joias – tanto ‘joias-palavras’ como ‘joias-fotografias’ – que há no mesmo.
Uma dessas preciosidades é uma foto de William Klein feita em Moscow em 1959 que o livro do Szarkowski não dá o nome (que mancada Szarkowski!), mas eu sei que é ‘bikini’ porque é capa de um Photofile (Thames & Hudson, 2017) do Klein que tenho em minha pequena biblioteca. “Bikini’ foge – no meu modesto conhecimento e entendimento da obra de Klein – da ‘regra’ das (quase totalidade) fotografias desse autor que prima por ‘meter’ dentro do retângulo grande diversidade de elementos de composição. ‘Bikini’ tem 6 camadas ou planos lindamente definidos….e, muitos mistérios…tensões…e, poesia.
Pois é: entre as várias coisas que o Szarkowski fala dessa fotografia leio algo que quero compartilhar:
“It was recognized long ago that so-called good photographic technique did not invariably make the best picture. Sometimes the gritty, graphic simplicity of the badly made photograph had about it an expressive authority that seemed to fit the subject better than the smooth, plastic description of the classical fine print”.
Mandou bem Szarkowski…
Inspired by an article written by Geoff Dyer called ‘form: word + photography’ and published by Zum magazine in May 2014, I found resonance for an aspect of great relevance for me in photography that is ‘marriage of the word with the photograph’ or ‘photography’ with the word’. For me, there is often an exchange of roles, i.e., who was born first, like the story: ‘the egg or the chicken?’: ‘The word or the photo?’.
Dyer cites some books that historically fall into this category and after reading his article I was tempted to buy one and ended up buying the ‘Looking at photographs’ where John Szarkowski ‘houses’ 100 photographs from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York ( the most iconic in his perspective in 1973, of course) with ‘words’ about such photos. Despite having the book in my hands for less than 24 hours, I was able to perceive real jewels – both ‘jewels-words’ and ‘jewels-photographs’ – that are in it.
One of these gems is a photo by William Klein made in Moscow in 1959 that Szarkowski’s book does not give the name (what a mistake Szarkowski!), But I know it’s a bikini because it’s the cover of a Photofile (Thames & Hudson, 2017) from Klein that I have in my small library. “Bikini” escapes – in my modest knowledge and understanding of Klein’s work – from the ‘rule’ of (almost all) photographs by this author who excels in ‘meter’ within the rectangle, a great diversity of elements of composition. ‘Bikini’ has 6 layers or beautifully defined plans …. and, many mysteries … tensions … and, poetry.
Well, among the many things that Szarkowski talks about in this photograph, I read something I want to share:
“It was recognized long ago that so-called good photographic technique did not invariably make the best picture. Sometimes the gritty, graphic simplicity of the badly made photograph had about it an expressive authority that seemed to fit the subject better than the smooth, plastic description of the classical fine print ”.
You did well Szarkowski!!! …
Looking carefully and attentively at these two portraits, I see a small passage in my head containing great words by James Agee when he says to whom his (great) book “Let us now praise famous men” (*) (Cia das Letras. Translation by Caetano W. 2009. James Agee and legendary photos of Walker Evans) had been written:
… “In any case, this is a book about ‘sharecroppers’, and it is written for all those who have a weakness in their hearts for the laughter and tears inherent in poverty seen from afar, and especially for …”enjoy a little better and more guilty the next good meal you have ”(page 31).
My message here is simply this: many of us do not realize the hard daily work of a rural worker in the production of food that reaches the tables of our families in Brazil and even many around the world. This is also true for the production of commodities that are mostly exported.
(*) book (journalist, poet and writer James Rufus Agee) and photographs (photographer Walker Evans) generated in the period of June-August 1936 when both worked on the production of a report (which in fact NEVER came to be published in the press) in Alabana state, USA, in order to portray the effects of the devastating period of the Great Depression. They even lived with three ‘meeiros’ families, establishing a very close relationship with several people.
Both the book and the photographs translate well this degree of involvement given the emotion and the level of detail with which Agee describes people, houses, their rooms and belongings. Evans’ photographs corroborate everything Agee writes, and even add even more emotion.
In short: “Evans’ photographs are, for me, the natural visual lexicon of Agee’s delightful descriptions. Sensations, the spirit of places and objects spontaneously spill out of Evans’ images ”.
Nada resiste ao tempo. As paredes e o teto de uma casa que outrora serviram de abrigo e de lar a uma família que ali viveu não têm mais nada para proteger. Apenas restou o vazio; a solidão; o isolamento; o abandono. Está – a pobre casinha – perdida no espaço e no tempo.
Instantaneamente ao vê-la, veio-me a ideia de indagar-me: quem teriam sido seus moradores? O que teria sido feito deles? Aonde estarão, hoje, as pessoas que lhe emprestavam vida? Aonde e com que idade estarão as crianças que provavelmente esta casa viu nascer e crescer? Não tenho dúvidas que deverão sentir saudades desta casa, de seus sonhos ali sonhados e de planos feitos para o futuro. Não tenho respostas à estas perguntas, mas isto não impede que eu conjeture sobre tudo isto que pode ter ocorrido no passado, dentro dessas quatro paredes e abaixo deste teto.
Hoje ela representa apenas um vulto na paisagem entrópica de um campo de cultura de cana de açúcar, tão típica do interior do estado de São Paulo, onde nasci, cresci e onde vivo. Nos meus tempos de menino a palavra e o significado de agro negócio creio que não havia sido criada neste país, agro negócios estes que poderiam e deveriam ser bem mais sustentáveis do que são.
Esta casa, hoje, personifica o significado prático da natureza transitória de nossas vidas, de nosso mundo e de como as coisas mudam, inevitavelmente, com o passar do tempo. Ela é, hoje, um elemento da paisagem que não passa de um testemunho da resiliência no sentido figurado e mais doído: sua capacidade de se recuperar ou se adaptar à má sorte ou às mudanças. Um testemunho da passagem do tempo, da entropia da oxidação e deterioração dos materiais que fora um dia construída. Insiste em ficar em pé. Está ali, imóvel, diante de mim.
A imagem desta casa, captada pela lente de minha câmera fotográfica, mostra mais do que o próprio objeto que a casa ainda é em si: captou o tempo de vida do objeto e o tempo vivido e as memórias das pessoas que nela um dia habitaram. A sua imagem captada parece mostrar não somente como ela é hoje, agora, como um objeto inanimado, naquela ínfima fração de tempo da fotografia que faço, mas como um dia foi, no passado.
Lost in space and time.
Nothing resists time. The walls and roof of a house that once served as a shelter and home to a family who lived there have nothing else to protect. Only emptiness remained; the loneliness; isolation; abandonment. It is – the poor little house – lost in space and time.
Instantly when I saw it, the idea came to me to ask myself: who would its inhabitants have been? What would have become of them? Where are the people who lent you life today? Where and at what age will the children that this house probably saw born and grow up be? I have no doubt that you should miss this house, your dreams dreamed there and plans made for the future. I have no answers to these questions, but this does not prevent me from guessing about all that may have happened in the past, within these four walls and under this ceiling.
Today it represents only a figure in the entropic landscape of a sugarcane culture field, so typical of the interior of the state of São Paulo, where I was born, grew up and where I live. In my boyhood the word and the meaning of agro business I believe that it was not created in this country, agro businesses that could and should be much more sustainable than they are.
This house today embodies the practical significance of the transient nature of our lives, of our world and of how things inevitably change over time. Today, it is an element of the landscape that is nothing more than a testimony of resilience in the figurative and most hurtful sense: its ability to recover or adapt to bad luck or changes. A testament to the passage of time, the entropy of oxidation and deterioration of materials that had once been built. Insists on standing. It is there, motionless, in front of me.
The image of this house, captured by the lens of my camera, shows more than the object itself that the house is still in itself: it captured the lifetime of the object and the time lived and the memories of the people who once lived in it. Its captured image seems to show not only what it is today, now, as a material and an inanimate object, in that tiny fraction of the time I photograph, but how it once was, in the past.
We live in a world where it is easy to register photographic images that are potential signs indicative of the immense and, in many cases, of severe damage or environmental changes inflicted by man to urban and rural landscapes almost anywhere on the planet.
These are contemporary, anthropocentric echoes of an eternal and unsustainable battle between Man and Nature where both lose out.