Photographers talk about the photographs they have taken that have marked their careers
To celebrate World Photography Day, Everyday Brasil asked some photographers to choose a photo they took that has an important meaning in their trajectory in photography.
Tuane Fernandes, São Paulo, SP
"On the walls, the immense Hawk holds the chain that will never be broken. The gaze is fixed, the hands are raised, and the suffocated scream becomes one. A whole band of crazy people shouts and pushes the eleven players inside the four lines towards victory. The woman kneels down and begins her prayer with watery eyes. Strangers hug each other and the boy kisses the shield printed on his T-shirt. At that moment I remember Osmar Santos' narration that translated all the feelings of a people that manifest themselves through their black-and-white passion: "Corinthians, you are the soul of this people! And you, Corinthians, fill the eyes of these people with tears. You see, Corinthians is almost a sigh for these simple people. And with its roots in simplicity and social struggle, the people's team is born! From Jorge comes strength. Hail my warrior saint, Saravá, and ogunhê my father!
This was one of the first photos that I took at the Gaviões da Fiel headquarters. I had visited there several times before but had never had the courage to take out my camera. On that day, Corinthians was crowned São Paulo State Champion, defeating rival São Paulo, and it was the first time I celebrated this victory with the Gaviões. The feeling was so strong that I took the camera out of my bag and photographed the party, feeling completely part of it. There I was sure that I would be back many more times to step on that ground. Revisiting the photos from that day, I understand that that moment was crucial for me to understand that there was my place and that I wanted to tell that story."
Márcia Foletto, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
"I chose this photo taken almost 30 years ago, but it could be from yesterday because it captured a scene from a reality that has not changed. In 1994, during an army occupation of Morro Santa Marta, in Botafogo, soldiers frisked everyone who was coming or leaving the community, searching for weapons and drugs.
The photo shows several students, aged between 8 and 12, with their hands against the wall, being patted down by heavily armed men. While I was there I saw several children being frisked, but when they put their hands against the wall I realized that the picture was really quite strong. Rifles and machine guns should not come near school supplies. The photo was published on the cover of the O Globo newspaper and the next day the magazines on children were suspended.
The curious thing is that this photo has circulated several times on the web in the last few years as if it were current. The first time was during the occupation in Complexo do Alemão, then during the occupation of Maré, also at the time of the Olympics, and again three years ago. I always take the opportunity to tell the story of this photo and how it was made. "
Leonardo Milano, Santarém, PA
"The POC Revolution: when photography is worth taking.
It was just over 30 seconds: during the São Paulo LGBT Pride Parade (2018), I spotted, on the opposite side of Consolação Avenue, a tense moment. I crossed the crowded avenue, running towards the unusual scene: a middle-aged man, wrapped in a Brazilian national team flag, was aggressively questioning military police officers about the whole "mess". Outraged, the man was not satisfied with the joy, diversity, and freedom of expression of the LGBT Parade. At that very moment, a cross-dresser - Youtuber Beatriz Alvarenga (Vlogs) - appeared, holding a bottle of Catuaba Selvagem, to defend the policemen and to debauch the man with his finger-pointing.
It was an election period and, as we know, the country was experiencing, since 2016, a conservative and reactionary uprising, which culminated in the coup d'état suffered by President Dilma Rousseff, who was deposed without having committed any crime, as has been proven. I took four clicks of the scene, which quickly faded away. The photo quickly went viral on the internet.
The image has several layers: beyond the foreground, with the Youtuber and the man shouting, there is a group of policemen with their arms crossed observing, inert, the scene; a man on his knees, photographing what was happening; a passerby on crutches and a group of men in suits and ties; the image of soccer player Fred - printed on the flag that surrounded the man - laughing and pointing directly to the observer of the photo, the conjunction of elements that synthesized, for thousands of people, that political and social moment in the country.
Beatriz Alvarenga became an icon in social media and a symbol of the LGBTQI+ struggle. What I didn't know, and couldn't have imagined, is that that photograph of her, as it became known, would change the Youtuber's life forever. After 2018, every year that photo resurfaces and goes viral. But it was in 2020, during social isolation due to Covid-19, that the most defining moment in this story happened, for me. A friend tagged me in one of the many reports of the photograph, and also tagged Beatriz. Early in the morning, I decided to contact the Youtuber. I already knew that the repercussion of the image had brought family upheaval to Beatriz, and during a long WhatsApp conversation I apologized for the problems the photograph had brought to her. And it was then that the cathartic moment came, in a lonely early morning of social isolation: generous, Beatriz said that everything was fine, that I didn't need to apologize, that that picture had provoked deep and necessary transformations in her search for identity affirmation. I cried a lot at that moment, and I think Beatriz did too."
Jardiel Carvalho, São Paulo, SP
Of all the stories that I have covered in these ten years as a photojournalist, hers is the most significant to me. I believe very much in the power of the good energies of the universe, and I know that this story did not come to me by chance.
Elo is a lovely person, and despite her problems, she is always smiling and seeing the positive side of things. I had the immense pleasure of meeting her and hearing her story.
Eloisa was assaulted on Paulista Avenue on the afternoon of Sunday, April 8, 2019, a day when two groups were demonstrating for the one-year anniversary of former President Lula's imprisonment. One of the groups was celebrating and the other was asking for his freedom.
The scene happened in less than three minutes in front of my eyes. I felt several things at that moment, but in the midst of all that cowardice, I could only think that photographing would be the best thing I could have done at that moment since it would certainly contribute to reporting an injustice.
When the three men cowardly attacked Eloisa, in the middle of a group of approximately 300 people, at least five policemen, women, watched the whole action without reacting. She was not participating in either of the two events that took place that day on Paulista Avenue when she was attacked by the Bolsonarists. Elo had her backpack torn and all her objects thrown to the ground. Soon after the repression, she was carried to the PM's base at Trianon Park, as if she was the culprit for suffering physical and psychological aggression."
Ale Ruaro, São Paulo, SP
''I chose a portrait that was one of the highlights of my life, the portrait of the photographer and historian Boris Kossoy.
In 2017 I went through one of the most difficult years of my life when I decided to live in São Paulo - the city I always wanted to live - but also where people in this field told me there was no room for my work because it was too underground, and that I should live in New York or Berlin. I always would answer that I love the city and here I would build my history.
In April of the same year, I lost my mother and this made me suffer a lot and also gave me many insights when I started the biggest project I have ever done in my life: photographing the most important names in Brazilian photography. In the beginning, it was very difficult, most people closed the door to me. Today, with the book release date already announced, this portrait reminds me of what Boris told me at the time: "You are doing it right, kid, in 3 years your phone will ring and you won't even understand where these people found you. Me, sad as I was in a fierce battle for survival, I told him in tears, " Is it possible to be a little earlier?". He smiled and said I'd be fine.
Last year I wrote him, 'Boris, you predicted my future.'."
Helen Salomão, Salvador, BA
"This image is from the still of the film Raízes Mapas that I started to make last year.
Roots Maps is a process of documentation and reconstruction of my family's history, with the total protagonism of black women.
The short film highlights images of heads, hands, and the manual art of braiding as a way to discuss issues such as affection, rituals, resistance, rescue, memory, survival mechanisms, timeless technology, digital history, etc.
The film will be released in September 2021 along with a photographic exhibition.
I chose this image because it speaks of my trajectory in photography, about the ancestry and building the future in the present. "
In the picture: Helenice Salomão (my mother)
Photo: Helen Salomão
Antonello Veneri, Salvador, BA
"Iemanjá, the queen of the sea, "the mother whose children are fish", is one of the most important orixás in Candomblé. The cult of Yemanjá came from Africa to South America with the slaves from the Gulf of Benin, but since I arrived in Brazil 12 years ago, I have always seen her represented as a white woman, with straight hair and sometimes even blue eyes, both in statues, sculptures, images, and paintings.
In 2014, after a conversation with Thais Muniz, from the Turbante.se project, I wanted to take some photos of an Iemanjá that looked more like her African origin. So I invited Sandra Priscila Santos, creator of the blog "Gordinhas lindas da Bahia" Thais helped me in the whole process and Sandra was very brave, she got in the boat and faced the waves of the sea of Bahia de Todos os Santos to be photographed.
I remember that on February 2, Yemanja's day, I published this photo, and the writer Joice Berth, through friends in common, shared it adding a deep and intense text about the image that started with "Dear white and fatphobic people, that's right, Yemanja is black and fat...".
In a few hours, the photo with the text went viral. The next day when I turned on my cell phone I saw hundreds of notifications, calls, and e-mails. There were even three TV stations and newspapers wanting to interview me and learn more about the black Yemanja.
Today when I remember the episode I am still surprised. For so many reasons. But I think this is the best role of photography: to provoke reflections that from a visual context take us to other dimensions."
Isis Medeiros, Viçosa, MG
Bença, portrait from the "Stories from my Backyard" collection, 2020
"Looking at my history and where I came from made me see more clearly my social function in the world. Photography is my breathing, it is where my body manifests every form of the purest expression of what I am. This photograph was the mark of a profound change, of a more affectionate look at myself and my own work, it is the blessing I needed to continue believing in this journey.
Ana Carolina Fernandes, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
"I chose this photo of the Caretas de Acupe, from 2018, because it is not only an exuberant cultural festival but, mainly, because it is living history in the streets of the Recôncavo Baiano.
The Caretas come out together with Nego Fugido, a theatrical staging that celebrates the resistance to slavery and the struggle of black people for freedom and keeps alive the official memory of the abolition told by black people and not the official one we are told in school.
The elders teach that a black man escaped during a carnival, in the XlX century, wearing a mask made by him out of cotton, paper and water, which today is papier-mâché.
Since for 2 years now, because of the pandemic, the festivities have not taken place, and my nostalgia for Acupe and Bahia itself are immense, this is a very important photo for me to warm my heart until July 2022. And it also celebrates my photographic freedom to be able to document one of the things I love most: the rich Brazilian history and culture, told by its own people."
Brenda Alcântara, Recife, PE
"The Queen of Maracatu was part of an essay in Zona da Mata of Pernambuco. With the purpose of understanding the details that make up the Maracatu's tradition, the queen presented herself.
José, who is a teacher in the city, has in the preparation for the carnival the opportunity to dress up and be whoever he wants.
The queen is one of the main characters that make up the presentation and is highlighted by the imposing brightness of the costumes.
The choice of this photo brings a special feeling of belonging. The queen has the freedom to be whoever she wants, through the colors and the encounter with art. The same applies to photography in my life.
We are the encounter with the unexpected and the possibilities of meeting the most diverse stories."
Renato Stockler, São Paulo, SP
Alma do Cardoso - 1, Ilha do Cardoso - São Paulo, 2012
"It was the year 2012 and it had been 12 years that something hovered as my way of interpreting things: between many mistakes and some successes, in the search for understanding injustices, struggles, pains, smiles and afflictions that humanity imprints in people and places, I was with photography.
Today I think about how much photography connects me and calms my conflicts, allows me to listen more than to look. And this photo, part of the Anima - Alma do Cardoso essay, from the hands of fisherman Edimilson and his grandson Renan, takes me back to a story of partnership, affection, support, and learning about life. Through this photograph, I see many of my feelings about the world."
Raphael Alves, Manaus, AM
"Photography came to me very much from the curiosity of seeing things rather than the desire to say something. After all, who am I to say anything. I get confused with words - just like I do with my thoughts.
Walking, seeing, waiting, contemplating as well as keeping. I think nothing defines what I do (or at least propose to do) more than these five verbs. I chose this image, first of all, because it is not one of those pictures taken during coverage of big events. It is quite the opposite! It is one made in the most unpretentious way. I could see myself in it! Emerging from a river - from my inner river - ready to find something that I don't know what it is, but I know it is there.
It is a movement, a color, a shadow and light match, a texture, in other words, it is poetry. Manoel de Barros, one of my favorite poets, wrote that 'poetry is not for understanding, but for embodying'. To understand is a wall: try to be a tree. Every day, without any kind of full comprehension, photography allows me to try to be a small seedling, with the simple pretension of becoming a leafy one.
The photograph was made on February 11, 2015. I was walking with the camera through the neighborhood of São Raimundo, West Zone of Manaus when I saw boys playing on a ferry interdicted by ANTAQ (National Agency of Waterway Transport), anchored on the banks of the Rio Negro River. This image is part of the project "Riversick" and was awarded at the Pictures of the Year Latin America in 2017."
Bruno Bou Haya, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
"The construction of this image contains everything that I believe and wish for the world, and I carry this story with me to this day. these four boys were playing ball on the beach in Barra de Caravelas, in the south of Bahia.
It was evident that the boy in the foreground, Luís, was not playing as well as his other friends. Embarrassed and upset, Luís turned away from the other children and looked dismayed at the horizon. Shocked by this scene, I went to console him by sharing some of my adventures as a child with glasses playing ball.
A child's pain is surprising, but vanity and neediness combined can catch up with him. And this is how I found the way to turn the page on Luis: by making him the protagonist of this beautiful photo, while those who provoked him looked on with envy, giving him only a figuration in the background."
Grasi Barbaresco, São Paulo, SP
"This is one of the images that compose my most recent photographic project started in 2021. This work investigates the importance of memory and imaginary creations for the formation of subjectivity in childhood. It is a project of extreme importance in my trajectory because it was made in a collaborative way with a group of children and adolescents who live in an institutional shelter.
In the photo, children from the institutional shelter camp with a group of scouts for the first time. São Paulo, Brazil, 2021."
Ana Mendes, Ananindeua, PA
"This is Dona Lurdes. And this is a recent picture I took in the Gameleira Community in the Sertão do Pajeú, in Pernambuco. I am not in the habit of making posed portraits, but I have been trying to do so. And sometimes I realize that when it comes to portraying others, a self-portrait escapes me as well. So, there is me and Dona Lurdes in this photo, both affected by the traumas of the pandemic, both affectionate, happy to see each other even in the midst of the pandemic. We survived. This is an important photo for me because it talks about calm in the time of chaos."
Melissa Warwick, Aracaju, SE
"To photograph real people and document their stories in a profound Brazil, a land where many lenses do not reach... To realize the importance of perpetuating simple moments like this one, of João and Maria, from the small village Amargosa, in Poço Verde, Sergipe. On the occasion, João demonstrated the step-by-step production of the bufú candy that is now documented in the book Panela Sergipana. He was 80 years old at the time and passed away shortly after our visit.
While taking the picture in the couple's living room, I asked how many years they had been together. Mr. João ventured: "about twenty or thirty...". And Maria, immediately replied: "man, are you crazy? It's more than fifty!" And we all laughed.
That's what it is about."
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