Until recently I only wanted to make photographs of landscapes, highly elaborated, technically beautiful. Suddenly I realized that because of this, I was shooting very little. Landscape photography requires large displacements, and at the moment of my life, I have to stay right here in my city. It was then that, two weeks ago or so I went out with the camera and happened to photograph the things I saw. Since then I’ve never stopped. I’m addicted to going out with the camera daily and photographing the streets and people. The result is that I’m not producing very elaborate images, but at least I’m shooting every day. My big question today is if this, for my personal portfolio in instagram it is healthy. I used to post only my best pictures. Now I am a little freer from this self-imposition. Before I wanted to give a more consistent look to my landscape production, but it occurred to me that I posted much less. By a suggestion of a reader here in the blog I created a specific account for this type of image more uncompromising, and I’m posting … The result of this experience is that I find myself in a crisis of identity, that is, in the impossibility of doing the photos that I really like, the one of landscapes, I went to make photos of the streets made almost in any way. On the one hand I find it healthy to photograph daily and post on instagram and here on the blog, on the other, my work is getting less elaborate. It is up to me now to try to find a middle ground between producing more consistent images, mainly in terms of ideas of light and framing, while maintaining a periodicity in terms of publication … I hope I am not charging too much
Here in Rio de Janeiro we are at the carnival. It’s a time of year when the whole city seems to be in a frenzy, in an ecstasy, people go crazy, driven by alcohol and drugs. When I got up in the morning I decided to take a look at this climate of the city, maybe it would give me some good pictures. Upon arriving at the beach of Ipanema there was a crowded crowd, drinking caipirinhas, vodka, beer, smoking … I went alone. Walking around the streets, I tried to listen to somebody else’s conversation, trying to understand where all that happiness really came from. I realized there was a reason everyone was dressed up … I felt like a fish out of water. The sun was burning on my shoulders and I decided to sit on a waterfront kiosk and drink some coconut water (where this picture was taken). Since I did not like the party, I realized that I would not be able to get good pictures. It is necessary to flow with the environment. It was not my case today.
According to the previous post, reality is in black and white, today I went to the city center, and between an appointment and another I took time to make some images. This time I wanted to look at the diferences between working in color and black and white. It’s very hard for me to decide which one I like the most. Certainly, the black and white images carry in themselves a drama that the color has not. In turn, colors reveal the environment more naturally and directly (?) – since monochromatic images are actually an abstraction of reality… My method for achieving this tonality is quite simple. I configure the camera (sony a7) in neutral color mode – in RAW format (always in RAW, I never use JPEG). After I finished shooting, I connect the camera with my cellphone over the wifi (a feature that I really like this camera. I’ve been using it a lot since I discovered it. I have sony a7 recently, after almost a decade with a 550d canon). With the images on the phone I apply the VSCO app filters, and that’s it! This is the way I work with images for instagram or the internet in general. For professional work I certainly have to go through the adobe lightroom and export in tiff format. In the lightroom I also have the VSCO filters, but I use them much less in this software. When I work on my computer, I have a lot more image control, so color correction is much more elaborate than just applying a filter. But as I have been saying, these images that I have presented here on the blog, especially these street series, are very uncompromising, so I feel free to work them out simply as well. Hope you like it. Looking foward to hear your thoughts about your preferences, between color or black and white. For my side, I just can not say what I like most… Geminian feelings over here 🙂
Variations on a Theme
Wim Wenders once said a thing that I never forget ” life is in color, reality is in black and white“. Beyond the playing with words of this quote, there is some true behind it. B&W pictures has the hability to put things in a atemporal perspective. I can not find the right words right now to describe this strange effect (no Susan Sontag here). It is certainly an abstraction of reality, but the way we read the images in monochrome format has certainly a very different impact in our perspective. When color photography appeared, fine art photographers, like Ansel Adams, were very resistent in accepting the new film support as art form. They saw it as comercial way to make images. It took many years to color being accepted as art form too. I am just making this introduction to say that for me sometimes is hard to stick only with B&W as my favorites photographers does. Is very simple. I just like how the colors look. So, tomorrow I have to go to the city center and I will make some street photography in the shape I did last few days, but I will do it in color instead. Looking for what you guys think about it 🙂
Robert Capa has a book called ‘Slightly Out of Focus’ in which he advocates that his photography style, while not technically perfect, was about what his colleague Cartier Bresson was saying – to capture the decisive moment. These two photographers serves as a means of insipiration for this series of images that I have been producing since last week, between my house and the subway station that I do daily in an old bus that passes here by my neighborhood. Far from any comparison with the two masters of photography, my inspiration refers only in the sense that I am aware that these images are far from being a technical perfection – I would not mention the composition aspect. However, I believe they have something that captures an immediate sense, catch a moment that I believe, over the years, will gain a certain strength – at least in my memory – but also, may serve as a record of an era here from my neighborhood. I’m not saying that there will be many people interested in this, who knows? But what motivates me in producing and presenting these images is, above all, my desire to practice photography on a daily basis, in a less ambitious way. The meaning of this blog is precisely this, to record this practice to try to perceive some evolution over time.
Variations on a Theme
Men working hard and risking the dismantling of a Christmas tree … sooner than ever … Rio, January 2018
Posting another uncompromising series of some photographs taken in between my house and the subway station, in the west side of Rio de Janeiro. This is not about showing extremely elaborate photographs. This series is just a record of what I see during this journey. Most of these images are imperfect in framing and even in exposure. I did not even used the lightroom to handle the highlights and the shadows. I have used a feature that I really like of my Sony A7, which is to transfer the images to my phone, over wifi, and later I apply presets of an app that I like quite a lot, the VSCO. But the point here – after the feedback I received in my previous post – is also to share my feeling in taking these pictures. I am not sure if it is clear in this selection of images, but when I circle around this neighborhood I feel unpleasant sensations of living in a dirty neighborhood with a precarious infra-structure. Transportation here prioritizes the car and the diesel buses , which causes the air, along with other wastes being burned, to be polluted. This worries me, considering my own health. At the same time, this dramatic atmosphere is a fertile field for practicing photography. Walking in this chaotic environment gives me the feeling that many things are happening around me. Every corner seems to be a story.
Variations on a Theme
Last week I’ve been playing around with street photography, nothing very elaborate, I just went out with the camera and photographed, above all, the way that I make by bus between my house and the subway station. The social inequalities and urban infrastructure of this displacement never cease to amaze me. To tell the truth I always have bad thoughts when I go this way, wondering why we live like this, or what I can do to change this reality. The answers, unfortunately, do not appear easily and almost always I have the feeling of lamentation. The reality of my city and my country is very hard. Shooting during this journey has been a way to avoid bad thoughts and create a certain pleasure in the midst of this urban and social chaos. In fact, in this series that I present here not all the images are of this route, some are of the city center. Soon I’ll prepare a more elaborate series about what it’s like to live in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. Nor is it a very original work given that it is a subject much approached in photography, but since I am a neighbor of one of the largest favelas in the country, Rio das Pedras, a community that lives around eighty thousand people, I believe I can make a contribution on this subject.
Variations on a Theme