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.
One of the great challenges and dilemmas of photography is “transforming an intangible feeling into something tangible”, with the intention of showing how we, fragile and imperfect human beings, are and how we respond to our concerns, desires and dreams.
The act of not traveling, imposed on contemporary life in this pandemic period, brings me the feeling of exile in territories as familiar, familiar, intimate as my own house, my garden and my street. Unleash in me the desire, the urge to travel. The photographs are telluric manifestations of my virtual space-time displacements in search of people and places known and unknown. They are true images of dreams. We do not make images of the desire to travel, but we can show photographs that the mind produces about this will, so that we can recognize these symbols. Photographs are said to have this ability to represent the intangible. I believe that.
I don’t know if you, like me, are fans of photography work by Stephen Shore (born 1947 in New York-USA), an American photographer famous for his photographs – as many critics say – “of objects, everyday scenes or banal, and for pioneering the use of color in artistic photography “. Without a doubt, Stephen Shore’s photographic work is really very good. But (perhaps motivated by my personal identification with the photography theme) – and as there is always a ‘but’ in life – there is in my opinion, another photographer, also American, who is also considered the pioneer of worldwide color photography called William Christenberry (born on 1936 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and died on 2016 in Washington, DC-USA). In my opinion – that coincides with that of a large number of critics – Christenberry is as well a great master in color photography.(texto em português ao final)Read More
Oh !, time … time, that damn-blessed inexorable variable … inevitable, unshakable, inflexible, relentless, unspeakable variable … the time that denies everything and erases everything … the time that yellow the love letter leaf kept so long in a drawer … forgotten there, but not from time, to time … time that wears out love … time that soothes passions and brings loneliness … time for a utopian world … and, at the same time, a dystopian world … time that everything weathered and destroyed the beauty and perfection of the beautiful … that appeased, that ended wars … that ended everything, from manias to epidemics and pandemics, that calmed the gusts … that the flower withers, rots the fruit and soothes the pain … which creates unrest and brings fear … Read More
Even in times of quarantine and social isolation as I live in a very little neighborhood (low traffic of cars and people) I have been making my walks almost daily. I usually walk from 1 ½ hours to 2 hours. Always wearing a mask, but I don’t make contact with anyone. Read More