In the beginning there was a light in the « Lumière » screen. A story always has an origin. The story of cinema would have started on the 28th December 1895 at the Salon Indien of the Grand Café in Paris, a place whose name already foreshadowed adventures and dreams when the Lumière brothers held there the first public session of the cinematograph.
Manoel de Oliveira used to say that the Lumière brothers had invented cinema to show the world exactly as it was, but that it were Méliès and Max Linder who made it, the first an art, the second an entertainment. From then on, everything had been invented in the history of cinema. And the stories could begin.
This exhibition invites you to ramble around the images of some films without words of the early days of cinema.
Come and meet its authors, its mythical characters, the stars, the heroes, a face, a look, and many emotions.
Photography as a thought and a document, meeting with the intention to study about a set of characteristics that define and describe society and its particular features.
From some guidelines defined by the AO NORTE association, in accordance with the Filmes do Homem Festival structure, field work ensues, with the duration of one month, where is relevant the direct relationship between the author and subject of work , trading. In a relationship between the photographed (s) and the photographer, you reach an aesthetic and conceptual “perception” that recites a way of being and thinking in this geographical area. Commerce as a cultural and social layer, not forgetting also all of its economic attributes.
The work is based on a direct relationship with the people that belong in the addressed areas. Each taken photograph is thought and based on a speech between the space and how each trader is part of the latter. These are images that absorb the "totality" of space, naturally including its inhabitants. A photographic work that happened by the communication and absorption of different stories, where it was possible to document the dynamics and relationships that we can find nowadays. These are photographs depicting a space and its history, but also a revelation of who built it and maintains it "open".
It is within this group of concepts defining a type of trade, that the proposal takes place and field work becomes key for the perception of this movement by its rather particular characteristics. We are talking about a bordering geographical area where the way of being and living reveals and appropriates the photographic work. A research about a place and who inhabits it.
At a time of movement and flux on a global scale, Portugal continues to be a country where
emigration is cyclical, with one of the highest emigration rates. Why do we emigrate? What does emigration say about us?
As an artist and an emigrant, it seemed important to me to understand emigration beyond the numbers and socioeconomic data. Using as a case study the city of London where I have lived for almost ten years now, I tried through interviews, portraits, and photographs of places to address the experience of displacement and its personal effects, namely in relation to feelings of belonging and identity as defined in terms of nation and nationality.
The work aims to create a portrait of emigration that is able to momentarily arrest its flux and offer elements that permit to recreate the experience which is being transmitted. At the same time, the work proposes a portrait of a city as seen from the perspective of the immigrants who make it their home, questioning acquired notions of geographic, political and identity border.
The photographs were created from the documenting of several places where traditional trade is practiced in the village of Melgaço. The process involved the thoroughly exploring of each site by photographic recording, resulting in an accumulation of different images. These images built up a pattern in which the exercise was to point out similarities of form, elements, colours, and objects from all visited shops. What is presented are several photographs from different locations connected by the same characteristic that make these locations unique, designated in this case by traditional trade.Bruna Prazeres
I was asked to do a photographic representation of the traditional trade of Melgaço. I didn’t know what to anticipate so, as usual when traveling, I only expected to be surprised. What I found was a huge challenge that has disconcerted me greatly, a unique challenge because what I usually do comes out by reflection of what surrounds me, as something natural, spontaneous, and usually something different from what was proposed to me here. In Melgaço I’ve tried very hard to portray what I was asked without departing from the intention
of those who very kindly invited and welcomed me to this locality of fascinating beauty, but the truth is that I was pulled by something I could not look away from. Over a week I strolled daily through the streets downtown, visited stores, talked to their owners, asked and learned how trade works in the small, yet beautiful centre of this village. What I found was mostly modern trade, traditional trading that has adapted to the times and, less frequently, real
traditional trade that in my eyes has displayed its ephemerality.
In the latter, some shops fascinated me for its aesthetic reminiscent of the old, nostalgic, and immensely picturesque; but then I also realized the difficulties facing the owners to keep its tradition, often very lonely in their competition. During my walks something left me awestruck: the abandonment. A phenomenon that’s been studied and commonly referred to as "desertification of the interior" and, aware of this trend that exists throughout our country, but also in Spain and many developed countries, I was invaded by a feeling of sadness, and then revolt. I wondered about the direction we’re taking in our communities, and as a society, what our motives are, and asked myself for serenity in order to deal with this. These photographs came from there and this particular theme was born by itself, and definitely captured most of my attention.
This is a composition I do not wish to boast about, as it records a reality of my country which I'm not proud of. Melgaço, as the rest of Portugal, has a unique beauty but we shouldn’t close our eyes and despise what deserves attention. On one side the Dutch company "Spar" which has 12,500 stores in 35 countries and profits of around 30 billion Euros a year, on the other a fleeting traditional greengrocer.
To speak of trade is to speak of the border, especially when the proposal is directed in a geographical area like Melgaço. Based on the theme of trade, within the residence work, this proposal became a questioning of what is the history of exchange and transfer of goods across the border. To speak of trade is to speak of smuggling.
A journey through customs (São Gregório), the history of a place and the architecture which function was to block a social movement that became history. This project speaks of trade and bases its narrative in the place of passage, a photographic series allowing us to go through the doors of the building toward the counter that opposed the community’s collective will of passage. A metaphor of the journey and the border, represented by the recording and sequence of the images shown. A set of photographs that rely on the idea of trade and report on what was this social and economic relationship.
Customs as moiom, as a "milestone" of the territory, of a "trade" that used to be, with a contemporary way of thinking. Trade and smuggling, an approach to the history of the place and people who inhabit this border area.