I have always been fascinated by the paintings of prehistoric civilizations – especially those portraying scenes from everyday life. And in many ways my dedication to photography arose from this enchantment. Photographers are the contemporary image makers. We create historical memories instantly, in fractions of seconds. And who knows what the images of our time will tell others about our way of life?
I began to take pictures in the 1970s, when Brazil was immersed in a dictatorship and almost everything around us was destined to be challenged and changed. Back then, I had the conviction that photography could contribute to these changes.
Ever since then a photographic issue has imposed itself time and again: should a photographer simply register a scene or interfere with his subject to make it more aesthetically pleasing? In documentary photography, this apparently simplistic issue masks a deeper discussion.
A photograph can capture reality but should never be confused with it: after all, a picture is always an interpretation. That is the case when the photographer chooses what and when to shoot, just as it is when the shooter composes – visually or artistically — a picture. The camera has a capacity that no other instrument does: to print, whether on film or digitally, a slice of what´s happening in time and space. And that’s where things get complex.
Becoming aware of framing a scene and shooting at the right moments can make photography a creative symbiosis of reality and interpretation. And yet, the more a photographer “tweaks” the scene, the more the shooter´s interpretation will shape the final frame, a perilous habit which in the extreme can transform photography into fiction.
How can photographers render the world without distorting it? Finding that balance is the riddle that has driven all my work.