top of page


On May 1, Labor Day, photographer Antonello Veneri brings a reflection on the situation of workers in essential and informal services in the middle of the new coronavirus pandemic, in portraits made in Salvador, Bahia.

Photos and text: Antonello Veneri

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have spent hours trying to understand what is going on, intrigued, by how I could report this situation. One day, at the supermarket, I talked to an employee about her fears of the daily exposure to these risks. Her protection was a face mask and no gloves at all. She answered by closing her eyes. After that, I understood what I had to tell. Then, I started a portrait series called "Not my choice", documenting people who need to work and cannot stay at home during the quarantine. Who got no employment bond or economic subsidies and need a daily income to get home and supply their basic needs. We are used to see pictures of doctors and nurses and their incredible work. They are prepared to face all the risks during a relentless pandemic and they get well-deserved recognition. Yet, I also think it is important to tell stories of people who have no alternative but to expose themselves to contamination by the virus.

Salu Blakie, musician and sewer technician at the São Joaquim fair

Pascoal Estevão, also known as Seu Zé, fruit seller at the São Joaquim fair

Ana Paula, Bahian lady who sells acarajés

Rafael, bus water seller

Romário, street water seller

Aglecia, supermarket cashier

Edvania, supervisor at the supermarket

Fabiana, street cleaner

Derivaldo, gas station worker

Leandro, glove and mask seller

Elias, technical assistant at Fundac

Wilson, road maintenance worker

Margarete, pizza chef

Jonathan, street artist

Antônio, motorcycle taxi driver

Maria do Socorro, bus driver

Vivaldo, security guard

Mário, cellphone charger seller

To see more about the work of Antonello Veneri:

bottom of page