Thursday, 2 December 2010

No Olho da Rua 01/12/2010

Haidé Portraits / Elisangela's New House / Hanica BF-20

We have in the archive a remarkable collection of portraits of Haidé, who from the beginning of the project in 1995, has always been serious about photography and her own image. There are hardly any pictures of her messing around and there are very few candid moments where she is unaware of the camera. She generally shoots a roll of film each day and there are always one or 2 portraits. She doesn't, of course, press the shutter so all the pictures are collaborations with friends / lovers / whoever is around, but the consistency of the results suggests that it is mostly her response to the camera, what the photograph means to her, what she is feeling, that makes the portraits so strong. Yesterday this portait of Haidé arrived, perhaps the best of several good ones in a series made on the tree trunk.

We finally found Elisangela yesterday. We knew she had a house but still expected to see her with her friends and family on the street. After a few days we asked Landia to take us there and Preto, Vinicius and Ronaldo came along too. Really, it was a special moment - she was so excited to see us, and we her. What is amazing is that her house is not a makeshift favela dwelling, constructed from all kinds of scavenged materials, it is a brand new apartment, with bathroom, toilet, kitchen, lounge (decorated with giant landscape posters) and 2 bedrooms - real evidence of Lula's social agenda. She is there with her 2 daughters (it seems Bilu is there too with his girl friend), although her partner of 15 years, Manchinia, is in prison. We left Elisangela a camera and we will go back today.

We are losing quite a few cameras. Our Hanica BF-20's are taking a battering. We never know exactly what's happened, who is responsible. It's obvious they are drunk or sniffing thinner, maybe smoking crack. One boy Coxinha admits he can't keep a camera (we think its unlikely they get sold as they are worth nothing and processing film costs a lot) so shoots pictures while we are there. When we started in 1995 we worked with more kids (more than 50) in 3 groups and we didn't lose one camera, not one. They were children and teenagers then and with cameras they were more reliable.

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