Winter Gardens is a photographic essay about urban parks in a time of accelerated environmental distress. With images captured in and around the city of Melbourne, it invites the viewer to see these green micro universes through our moment in history, where a series of dark pictures can be made of a million dots of grey, and how well-defined lines are now shown through filters of blur.
Step into the soft grass. Walk among centuries-old trees. Feel as if things were still the same. Keep dancing as if the music hadn’t stopped.
Large and affluent cities, which in good part have been a safe haven for the lucky few, are now consistently being hit with the destructive climate events that until recently seemed to be someone else’s unfortunate drama, whether it was rural populations, the world’s poor or other species. And as the greatest tragedy of our time finally meets its main contributors, we start to realise the dead end of our unquenchable quest for big, decadent lifestyles.
A much-needed relief from these modern-society pressures (the need to have more and then to have less) can often be found just a few blocks down the road. Public parks bring generous patches of natural landscape to our urban neighbourhoods, balancing the local climate, cooling us down during heat waves, and providing an escape to flood waters.
More than tangible benefits, these parks ought to be celebrated as an Ecotopian refuge from our awareness that the troubled future has already caught up on us.
How and when did you become interested in photography?
In 2001 my uncle Kazuo came to visit me with his SLR camera and I loved the mechanical aspects of it. Soon after, I bought a Nikon F60 and never stopped.
Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?
As a fellow Brazilian, Sebastiao Salgado’s approach has been one of my biggest inspirations, along with Henri Cartier-Bresson and most of the old-school Magnum photographers. More recently, my daughter’s free approach to painting (as most kids do) has influenced the way I think about concepts and click-driven aesthetics.
Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?
If the purpose of art is to take viewers away from their daily problems and anxieties, even if just for a brief moment, and give them something essentially humane to think about, the abstraction of black and white can help transport the viewer from the objective reality. I personally also love how its many analogic variables become an intrinsic part of the creative process and feel like pure magic.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
Recently the process has been quite a slow one, especially shooting with a cumbersome Mamiya Universal 6×7 on a tripod. It starts with establishing a theme, a visual concept, and finding something interesting to point the camera at. I take my time composing and thinking about what could work best for the shot. I may include filters, intentional camera movements, multiple exposures, soft focus, etc. Then I drop my rolls of Kodak Tri-X to the lab and cross my fingers hard.
Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?
My photography has been and will probably continue to be about themes I care for, about taking my time with each shot, and cultivating a calm and present mindset. The high cost of film and processing makes me think even more before each shot.
Right now I am trying to bring to light a work in progress entitled Winter Gardens, to which these images belong. More details are below.