Me and Mr. Strand.


In the book “Understanding a photograph” by John Berger (organization and introduction by Geoff Dyer and translation by Paulo Geiger) (Cia das Letras. São Paulo. 2017) (an authentic treatise on photography made known by master Juan Esteves, São Paulo) I read and reread it a few times (good things have to be tasted homeopathically) the ‘reading’ of the photo on the left of 1944 (made three years before this writter was born) by Paul Strand in Vermont, New England-USA, and the that you can read there with all the letters impresses me, touches me a lot.

Berger says of Strand’s work: “His best photographs are unusually dense – not in the sense of being overloaded or obscure, but in the sense that they are filled with an unusual amount of substance per square centimeter. And all this substance becomes the essence of the object’s life. Take the famous portrait of Mr. Bennet. His jacket, his shirt, his beard on his chin, the wood of the house behind him, the air around him become, in this image, the very face of his life, of which his facial expression is the concentrated spirit”.

Left: Mr. Bennett (Vermont, New England-USA) (1944) by Paul Strand.

Right: Onion harvester (Casa Branca, SP-Brasil) (2019) Antonio Mozeto.

The photo on the right that I took in 2019 of an onion harvester in Casa Branca (SP-Brazil) has a much more explicit surface given that the worker is in his own working environment. And, without due permission, but with due boldness, ‘reading’ my photo, I make Berger’s words about the current Paul Strand photo mine: all the substance of the photo is in the expressive look of the worker, in a marked face due to the hardships of hard work and the properties of his surroundings: the harsh and striking light of the day in full sun, the onion harvesting bucket, the onion sacks lined up behind him, two companions of toil and the bus that brings him a lot early for the harvest and takes you home at the end of another day of this person’s hard daily workday.

As Berger rightly said (operate citato) “in the relationship between photography and words, the first yearns for an interpretation, and words usually supply it. The photograph, irrefutable as evidence, but weak in meaning, gains meaning from words”.

{like a tattoo}

{like a tattoo} – [I was born: I grew up: I raised children and grandchildren: I lived and live in a place where time is another time; another dimension; a time that is more peaceful, like the dairy cows that lie down motionless and sleepy in the pasture at night: they stay there, quietly and slowly ruminating all night; on nights of pitch-dark darkness it is only known that they are there through the feeling of their warmth, their smell; through the little noise their teeths make when they chew; nor do their usual mooing be heard; my feelings do not fit the description in words; I am not good with words; I like them but I don’t even know if they exist to describe it in a way that the other feels them as they really are; I am only good with the feeling of feelings; those who have already felt them, those who have already lived them have stuck them deep in their skin: like a stain: like a sticky sap of a jackfruit tree: like a tattoo: they leave with us when we go to another world]

The faces of men and women of the field

This is a subproject derived from my ongoing project called “RURALS”.

I want with this subproject to show the faces of rural workers, men and women, that I have been photographing for about 4 years. In some ways this subproject is like a record for the posterity of what rural workers were like in my adult years.

Unfortunately this is a record of the present times that does not include my time as a child and adolescence. But I will continue on this road in this project until the day my fingers can no longer press the shutter button on my cameras.

Rural workers

“I give respect to the unimportant things and unimportant beings. I appreciate bugs more than planes.
I value the speed of the turtles more than the speed of the missiles.
I have this delay of birth in me. I was equipped to be like birds.
I have plenty to be happy about it. My backyard is greater than the world.”
(poem called ‘Respect’ by Manoel de Barros)

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