This is a project about grief, family and happiness.
In this series called “Somos Felizes Juntos”(We’re Happy Together) Gabriel Carpes photographed his family in the years following his father’s passing and his sisters moving away from their hometown of Porto Alegre to different parts of the country.
As such, the only events that could be photographed were celebrations such as birthdays, holidays and other celebrations as they were the only situations where the family was together. These special moments became in a way their “day to day” life that was frozen in time in every separation only to be resumed once they got the chance to be with each other again.
Approaching the subject with a documental stance at first, Gabriel began shooting his family in unposed scenes at every occasion they were together. Dinner being prepared in group, a drunk sister or his mother showing an album of old photos. Regular photos of unposed moments that could only be made by another family member looking for vulnerability in their routine.
Similar to most family albums, this project is filled with photos from these special occasions, however unlike most of the authors of such albums, Gabriel photographed celebrations not by choice but necessity. Family albums feature pictures of celebrations because those are the moments people chose to remember as they are usually the happiest, fights and misunderstandings don’t deserve a place in our albums, birthdays do. In this case the situations although joyfull also carry the weight of grief and sorrow, a family trying to move on even if separated.
Photographs are often related to memory and in the case of photos of our intimacy it is often the documentation of memories that motivates the creation of pictures, Memories are curated with pictures to seems as though only the joyful times existed, sadness is meant to be forgotten. But here grief is treated as a process that shows up uninvited to every moment that was meant to be happy. Although happiness is present through the photos it is mixed in with contradictory emotions as this is the process of grief. To curate these pictures in order to show only happiness would be dishonest to the true memories created during those years.
Gabriel Carpes is a Brazilian photographer, born and raised in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. Graduated in Architecture and Urban Planning, he took up photography during college as a way of earning a living and as a tool to learn more about architecture. Participated in the festivals: “Encontros da Imagem” (Braga, Portugal) in the Dicovery Awards Under 30 exhibition and Photobook Market, FELIFA(Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Belfast Photo Festival(Belfast, N.Ireland) as one of the Open Call Winners. Has participated in exhibitions in the Museu de Artes do Rio Grande do Sul (MARGS) and in a solo exhibition in the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. He is based in Porto Alegre, Brazil where he works as a freelance photographer. [Official Website]