“There is always a mist the eyes can’t dispel.” W.G. Sebald - The Emigrants
Not There, 35mm and Digital, B&W and color, 2016 to present.
The series addresses photography as images of physical, cultural and emotional displacement. As a Brazilian emigrant living in United States since 2012, my visits to Brazil and therefore the photographs I have made, became an interesting mix of melancholy, cultural analysis and contemplation. When I am there in Brazil, the melancholy of never coming back to the place I have left leads me to reevaluate every code that surrounds me. Thus, with my 35mm Minolta in hands I begin to capture places, people, objects and scenes in a non traditional manner, blurring the images, soft focusing them. They became not documents of social reality, but visual inquiries on identity of an emigrant. The images then dialogue, or perhaps argue, with the traditional documentary photography form. Not There does not aim to present a place or a people, it is rather the very absence of this traditional function. The relationship between me - the photographer -, and my place of birth where I emigrated from - Brazil-, is of conflictive signs as are the photographs that result from this relationship. Not There is a statement of my status as an emigrant, as a much more vulnerable, subtle and creative role than the exhausted immigrant or alien status. As an emigrant I see myself as a bridge between the place I have left (and can't never come to in the same manner), and the place where I live in. The connection that I establish between where I am and where I come from has many paths, perhaps sometimes resembling a labyrinth. Memory, reminiscence and retention. Imagination, transcendence and vulnerability. Sates of mind reflected in Not There. Thus, the lack of information, the absence of objective meaning, is visible in the grainy textures of the pictures. The lack of information leads to a lack of focus that avoids objective representation and establish a lightly meditative dialogue with the viewer. A conversation that aims to explore the emotional landscape of emigration. Not There became is an experimental series that addresses the context and environment where I found myself in, even when I am not there. They are a pictorial context that surrounds the presence of my invisible absence, a paradox referring to where I am and I am not.