Sebastião Salgado (Brazilian, b. 1944)
Zo’e Group, State of Para, Brazil [Zo’e Women], 2009
The gallery below is chosen after this photograph of the Zoe women in the Brazilian Amazon taken by Sebastião Salgado on his Genesis exhibition at ICP. The photo shows a group of women touching and painting themselves in a very natural way. They are wearing white flowers head ornaments and are all either sitting on the floor or in the hammocks. All of them are very comfortable with the place and presence of one another. Every figure seems to play an important role not only for the composition of the photograph, but among their social group.
Sento bathing scene. Japanese woman bathing in a wooden tub (woodcut by Torii Kiyomitsu, late 18th century)
This image shows the moments of the day that we spend doing something without realizing the action itself, it just flows naturally. We inherit cultural behaviors that come from ancestors and relatives and they just become part of us. The act of cleaning ourselves is one of those things.
Modern Dance Group of Young Women Performing Outdoors, 1900,
As seen in the Salgado’s photograph, these women are doing something as a group without any commitment to it. They just seem to be distracting themselves, dancing bare feet in the woods with no expectation or anxiety of being judged. Both Frances Benjamin and Sebastião Salgado leave us with an image in which the photographer seems invisible by its subject – what makes the image stronger. The spontaneity of doing something just for the sake of entertainment and no expectation for outcomes is beautifully translated in this photo.
Eugène Ferdinand Victor Delacroix
The Women of Algiers (study). 1832, 10×13cm, Louvre
These two women sitting on the floor in a very intimate relation to the space and the object in the center of the photograph relates directly to the Salgado’s photograph when talking about belonging to the space/ setting. The relationship between subject and its surrounding is portrayed in a very homogenous way as if the girls are blending to the background and floor.
“Einwohner in Ceylon (People of Ceylon)” by Philip Baldaeus, from ‘Nauwkeurige beschrijving Malabar en Choromandel, derz. aangrenzend rijken, en het machtige eiland Ceylon’, Amsterdam, 1672
19.5 x 29.5 cm
This photograph makes me think of work versus survival. Are these women working because they enjoy working or is it a matter of surviving the rules of colonizers? Also, because countries like Ceylon were colonized and black people were forced to work then I think of them as individuals who did not even have the choice of decision making about where, how and what to do within a group. The level of acceptance is pretty much denied and not questioned among them, but the idea of survival.
Ritual de iniciação das filhas-de-santo. Bahia, Brazil, 1951.
Photo: José Medeiros/Acervo IMS.
This photograph is the opposite from what I have chosen so far. José Medeiros composed this image of a girl looking very much to her inside with a posed action rather than experience the spontaneity of movements and feelings from the other photos. I think she is very much aware of where she is and what she is doing. I like to call this a more “controlled” situation in comparison to the others. Looking at this image among the others raises the question of the difference between the staged and spontaneous moment of photography.
Claudine Doury – photo: Sasha 2005
I really enjoy this photo of these two teenagers covered in mud walking in the woods.They do not seem to care about the photographer and are just playing around as they do daily. That is what girls do – they have fun with foolish things. Claudine Doury has photographed her daughter Sasha in her teenager years in familiar places, but even being so intimate to her subject matter this is one of the few photographs that I find the spontaneity of the moment more powerful.
260 x 389 cm
And as seen on the Salgado’s photograph, the subject is shown throughout the entire image frame, which creates a need to move our eyes around the image looking for the connections between the elements, instead of having just one main “object”. It is a group of people and each one seems very comfortable with their own roles among themselves. Some men play the music while the other just enjoy it, regardless of who does what they are just there enjoying it.
Urdolmen II, 2009
Like the women in the Salgado’s photo, these rocks are just sitting there not fighting against the other. They are doing what they are supposed to do within this specific space. They touch each other in a pleasant way. They all have different bodies sizes, characteristics and still work perfectly together. As if one need the other for the whole group to work and flow.
Mulheres, 1992 – silk screen printing
50 x 70cm
This image is about these women and how they play around with themselves. They are standing or sitting down in this beach and interacting with one another. They are all naked and the body movements look so spontaneous that the naked body does not become an issue of interpretation. They could be dressed up and the image will have the same effect. The group interaction becomes the powerful structure on the scene and how comfortable they look with the presence of the others.
Paraty – 2014
This is a photograph I took of a group of people in a little bar in the country side of Rio de Janeiro. The encounter of different people in a common space is a nice experience of seeing, feeling and respecting one another. To see how people behave and occupy a space in relation to the space itself and with others is something that interests me a lot. I look at it as a microcosmo of our planet.