The pleasure of revisiting: The harvesters (men and women) and me.

I’m starting to revisit my collection of photographs of rural workers handling different types of crops across the country. And I do so, inspired and deeply moved after watching a few times the documentary that competed for the prize at the 2000 Cannes Festival (and of great international recognition in the following years) by the great filmmaker Agnès Varda called ‘Les glaneurs et la glaneuse’ (* )(The collectors and I). Varda considers herself, in this documentary, a ‘glaneuse’, not of harvest remains, but a ‘glaneuse’ of information, images, and stories. (*)(

Varda very appropriately quotes, comments and shows two large paintings on the theme of Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) “Les glaneus” (The scavengers) (1857) and “Le rappel des glaneus” (The remembrance of the scavengers) (1859) by Jules Breton (1827-1906). The criticism of these great works of art comments, among other aspects, on things that are very typical and known to rural workers who, in these activities, show themselves with their ‘broken backs, eyes fixed on the ground’ in ‘repetitive and exhausting movements imposed by this hard work: get down, pick up, get up’.

Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) “Les glaneus” (1857).
“Le rappel des glaneus” (1859) by Jules Breton (1827-1906).

‘The harvesters’ (of normal harvests), in a lot, resemble the ‘pickers’ who were poor workers, but worthy like any other rural workers who were authorized by the owners or tenants of different plantations to ‘pick up’ the leftovers after the realization of the main crops to guarantee their sustenance.

The context of my photos of rural workers harvesting in the interior of Brazil is quite different from the collectors of the classic paintings shown in the documentary by Agnès Varda, but even so I decided to make comparisons since I find similarities between these images because these rural workers repeat, daily, during the harvest period, the same scenes of having their ‘backs broken, eyes fixed on the ground’ in ‘repetitive and exhausting movements imposed by this hard work: lowering , pick up, lift’ being ‘supervised’, or controlled, also, as in Millet’s work, by one or more ‘inspectors’ of the bosses.

I can say that I am also part of this story because in my childhood – along with my brothers/sisters and cousins ​​– I was a collector. My paternal grandfather and my father allowed (and encouraged) us to ‘pick up’ coffee after the normal period of the annual harvest in their small plantations. The product of this activity was sold, which yielded some money that was shared between us. It is even said that one of the cousins ​​’hidden’, surreptitiously, under the ‘skirt’ of some coffee trees, during normal harvests (in which we also actively participated), some good amounts of coffee which, later at the time of ‘ scavenger hunt’ was gallantly collected by all of us. Everything leads to the belief that both the grandfather and the father pretended that they did not know about this illicit maneuver.

[hitting the road again]

…back on the road…the longing was immense…this time through the interior of northeastern Argentina in a region that I knew little about…

New topographics – Corbélia, PR-Brasil.
Portrait of a typical Gaucho – Ituzaingó, Corrientes- Argentina.
Top: result of intense forest fires ocurred in 2021 in Corrientes Province, Northeast Argentina. Bottom: Hydroelectric Itaipu, PR-Brasil.

Abandoned gas station, Posadas, Misiones, Argentina.

[new brazilian topographics]

Obelisk of the State Center – Geometric center of the State of São Paulo. Construction 1951 (71 years). National heritage. Classification: CONDEPHAAT. City of Dorado. Coordinates: 22° 04′ 12″ S 48° 26′ 01″ W.

It is located at the confluence of the ‘Comandante João Ribeiro de Barros highway’ (SP-255) with the ‘Luís Augusto de Oliveira Highway’ (SP-215) in the municipality of Dourado, 265 km from São Paulo city, the state capital city.

An obelisk was erected near the site, marking the proximity to the geometric center of the state, or geographic center as it is better known. The monument lacks information boards and the date of its construction remains unknown. A document from 1967, about a bus route in the region that passed by the obelisk, allows us to say that its construction took place during or before that year. In addition, a nearby restaurant called “Restaurante e Lanchonete Obelisco” has existed since 1952, an indication that the obelisk was already built in that year.

The true geographic center of the state of São Paulo is located approximately one and a half kilometers from the obelisk, within a private property, which suggests that the monument was built in that location in a public and easily accessible area. (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

{photograph how it feels not how it looks}

There are several ‘maxims’ of the great photographer Ansel Adams.
Alluding to my photograph of a landscape from Serra do Fumal (southeast part of Serra da Canastra, MG-Brazil) – taken last week – I wanted to rescue one of these ‘maxims’.

In short: “photograph how it feels (not how it looks)”. Because in photography, let’s not forget, “it’s more about the emotion it evokes in the viewer than about its appearance”.

If not, here’s what Adams says in this context: “My Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico has the emotion and feeling that the experience of seeing a real moonrise created in me, but it’s not realistic at all. Simply clicking the camera and making a simple print of the negative would have created an entirely different – and ordinary – photograph. People ask me why the sky is so dark, thinking exactly in terms of the literal. But the dark sky is what it looked like.”

I’ve been told…that’s all for now…
Hope you like it….