AN ENCOUNTER BETWEEN MELANCHOLY
OF TIME AND THE JOY OF COLOR
Our lives are made of various encounters.
Some improbable, others inexplicable.
Encounters between images, feelings and temporalities.
Between the gaze of the photographer, the subject portrayed
and the feelings of the observer.
Encounters between you and me.
This book is produced with various of these encounters in mind.
• • •
I’ve always been intrigued about the passage of time.
Just as I have always liked to listen to stories.
Photographing is perhaps a way of telling them.
Photographing allows one to move through time.
Traveling and catching sight of imaginary landscapes.
Seeking open windows and façades embellished with light. Submerging toward the unknown held in closets and drawers.
Taking photographs means yielding to various things.
Exploring hallways, stairways and roads.
Looking into mirrors and reflections charmed by color.
Becoming enmeshed in voids inhabited by shadows and bricks
and encountering walls with a patina of mystery, feeling and
Stealing the randomness of people I find along the way, who,
by posing, involuntarily replicate themselves in new instants
and go viral in future Instagrams.
• • •
I started photographing with a reflex camera with 35mm negatives in the late 1970s. Some black-and-white images, enlarged at home, still survive from that time. In a series of photos made on a trip to the Brazilian Northeast I already directed my gaze to possible narratives.
Today, when I sort through the endless archives, I become dismayed at the finiteness of things, which inexorably end, despite their printed presence in photographs.The fantasized stories and the feelings experienced have been reduced to memories, and only a few will have the chance to survive,
who knows one day, when they are retold.
• • •
In the year 2000 I spent some time in NewYork studying
at the International Center of Photography (icp). Reflecting
on my photographic process during this training, I can see
now the wish to create sequences of images that led to a new understanding.
The series at the side is part of the essay R – Encounters,
a result of this experience. By aligning four initially disconnected photos, I try to rhyme them in a poetic phrase that proposes something unique to the imagination of each observer.
Years later – with a more experienced perspective – I perceive
that the same question continues to attract me: the happening
that arises by approximating images that had never seen each
other before and which recognize one another, provoke one
another, create estrangements and re-signify one another,
making our black-box confabulate and dream.
• • •
In the process of designing this book I thought about the possible photographic conversations between instants laid
out on pages side-by-side, putting mutually distant spaces
and times together. I considered the dialogues that are silent
and infinite, intensely or only faintly colored, some lit by an existential melancholy, others by a sheltering joy.
I tried to make it so that when the pages are turned they lead
the soul from one state to the next, as in moving from the
photo of a confessional with its solemn purple curtain to its neighboring prenuptial scene decked out in lilac happiness,
flowing to the following page with its gray and lavender
façades.The perception of a turquoise wall, the apparition
of a pink of hope or an illuminated yellow thrill me, fuel me
and guide me to the next chapter.
I have to recognize that the colors are inhabited by magic and
that their energy can charm us.Textures, lines, repetitions
and ornaments can also exercise this seduction. Just like
flowers, and their arrangements, they have the subtle power
to transform me.
• • •
Without having a definite grammar or cause, I photographed
what lived hidden in my memory. What was uncertain to me
and what I managed to recognize in the world.
I went out in search of the fleeting beauty of the random scene
– a beauty that had no obligation to elucidate the mysteries of
life, but by which I somehow would be rescued. And through
which, as in music or cinema, we could nevertheless be saved
at another time and place.
CLOVIS FERREIRA FRANÇA
Praia do Francês
Praia do Francês