The art of photography, to me, is to capture the poetry of a scene in the very moment when it happens, and have it saved forever. I was not always able to capture the beauty I witness in life. I went through spectacular adventures of all manners before becoming a photographer.
At 16 years of age, I spent a season in the Slums of Edith with the deceased Nalva, God rest her soul, and her beautiful family.
Nalva, the matriarch of a family composed of black women, who had fallen ill by the AIDS virus. With no government support, broken, in need of food and medicine to take care of the family in order to survive they had to resort to illegal activity to afford the high cost of meds They were just one more family living under the unfair Brazilian system of social politics. With them I learned how to cook, share, live with trickery, fear the police. Exchanging affection, knowledge, sorrows and joys was always the main goal amongst those people.
The slum was a paradoxical beauty, sad, dirty, full of fears, rats and open sewers, populated by beautiful people with hope in their hearts. Dona Vivaldina, Silas, Neguinho, Nego Véio, Neide... there are so many memories. That was a life experience that I had and regret the most for not have being a photographer yet. There were endless moments that I managed to register.
As soon I began to study photography, I became a photographer. When I was 17 years old, fighting for a space with well established people in the industry, I made a fatal rookie mistake: I left many of my original negatives with publishers of magazines and newspapers for whom I collaborated because the deal was 'if you don't leave the originals it will not be published." For those who are starting there isn't much choice. You give or you are out. I wonder how many kids out there are facing the same struggle. Long time after that I manage to reverse this dynamic. Original negatives are precious jewels so keep it safe and forever!