Interview with Alessandro Celante; Published in our printed edition #16

My projects have always been about human perception of and relationship to society, more precisely about the distance between subject and phenomenon based on new technologies, and that's why I develop them based on sensory experiences. 

In this interview for Dodho Magazine, Mieke Douglas met with Brazilian Photographer Alessandro Celante to discuss his ongoing project ‘Impermanent Masks’, which recently featured on the cover of Issue 16 of the Magazine.

Born in 1972 in the interior of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, graduated in Social Communication from FAAP-SP and postgraduate in photography and arts at the SENAC-SP Center for Communication and Arts, where he researched photographic historical processes. Taught for 8 years photography and Semiotics at Universidade Padre Anchieta in Jundiaí – SP. Has been working as a graphic designer for more than 25 years at AUM Graphic Design, a company that owns and develops projects in the visual arts due to the photographic bias, which made it possible to participate in several collective exhibitions, such as twice in the “Mostra de Arte Digital – Centro Cultural Pablo de la Torriente Brau”, Havana – Cuba and individuals, such as “Les regards Numériques d’um Brézilien”. Musée de Baux, Les Baux de Provence – France. In 2014 creates the experience “impermanent masks” and its consequences, as exposed in countries such as Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile, Italy, Australia and Malaysia as well as the main festivals of photography in Brazil. [Official Website][Printed Edition][Digital Edition]

‘Impermanent Masks’, which you have been working on since 2014, has involved making images of over 300 volunteers, while they are lying in a small swimming pool filled with water and dry ice. I watched a video of this extraordinary process and it struck me as a sort of rebirthing. Is this what you had in mind? What are you trying to say with this work?

My projects have always been about human perception of and relationship to society, more precisely about the distance between subject and phenomenon based on new technologies, and that’s why I develop them based on sensory experiences. 

The masks, both in their capture and exhibition processes, demonstrate immersion and rupture. Our understanding of the world is through our senses and the experience in the pool with cold water and dry ice, interferes simultaneously with all five senses. For a fraction of a second they are restarted, even metaphorically, when I photograph a death mask from someone alive! The death in question is of our perception and this shock makes us rethink our relationship with the world. The images are just the result of what really interests me, the process.

What inspired you to start on this epic project and continues to consume you almost a decade later?

In fact, the masks are part of a larger project that I call “immersive experiences”, a kind of incubator of projects, experiences that participants report on. This is what provides longevity for the process of making these ephemeral images. I don’t know if there was a moment of inspiration, but a series of insights that converged to make the project what it is today. The intention is to bring more and more people, without any restrictions to participate in the experiences and not just in the exhibitions.

Can you walk me through the process of making this work on a day-to-day basis? 

The intention is to provide a break in the daily lives of the people who participate. The physical process is the same, but the reactions are individual and the reports of each help me grow and direct the project, and of course, it ends up disrupting my day-to-day. That’s what gives the project its dynamism.

Did you know from the start what the imagery would look like, or did it develop over time? What are you trying to achieve with the visual?

This project was born from academic research and many paths were traced until it reached what it is today. I started from the relationship between photography and the need of human beings to somehow cheat death and remain. The possibility of an impermanent photograph led me to create an experience where the process is more important than the result, in that sense I had no idea what the visual would be.

This project has a very striking aesthetic. What is more important to you, the visual or the message?

No doubt the message. Not a message I try to convey, but the various messages the participants build when they project their personal experiences on the photographic set and give me back testimonials on their personal journeys. Let it be clear that there is no one message, but a polyphonic reverberation of message fragments

Do you think an image needs accompanying text, or should photos speak quietly on their own, without words? 

Images and text are autonomous languages that can work individually or in consonance. The project must establish whether there will be a dialogue between these languages, or if they will exist independently of each other.

How did your subjects respond to this process? Was it an intense encounter for them? Did they experience a transformation themselves?

As I said before, the process is the same for everyone, but the experience is individual, and the results are very different. Most of them are intense. The rescue of affective memories, disconnection from reality can have physical reactions and many tears. I wouldn’t say they experience a transformation, but the doors of perception open to this possibility.

You recently had a large-scale photo installation with the images printed on translucent fabric, hung from the ceiling all around the exhibition space, so they could be not only seen but also touched. The effect was quite dramatic, enhancing the ethereal aesthetic but also adding yet another layer of immersion, this time with the viewer. How did you hope this would engage with its audience? 

In my exhibitions, the installation is always thought of as a language, it must work in an interactive way and not only accommodate images. This is the original way of exposing the impermanent masks, due to the labyrinth-shaped arrangement, the transparency of the images that provide overlaps and the need to touch. It is a second immersion after capturing the images. I often say that we need to touch the images to let them touch us and naturally there is resistance from visitors to touch, we learned that we cannot touch the photographs.

Do any memories stand out in the making of this work?

Specifically in this installation, the visit of a visually impaired person surprised me. It gave rise to the idea of doing exercises with groups of visitors, who entered the exhibition blindfolded and after a while took the blindfolds off, the result was very interesting. It was a new approach that was born during the process, that’s how it works.

Have you discovered anything about yourself making this project?

I believe that when we take risks and interact in the art environment, discoveries are daily, as well as learning. Yes, I have been discovering and reinventing myself in every part of this process.

Who are your major artistic influences? Are you more drawn to photography or the wider art world? Have your influences changed as you grew as an artist yourself?

I have the classic influences of the art world, a special predilection for portraits, which led me to photography and a need to work with different languages that provide dialogue and reflection. In this sense, my most striking influences are Bill Viola, Paolo Gioli, Cristian Botansky, Rosangela Rennó, Joan Fontcuberta and many others. Influences don’t change, they just increase!

What do you like to do outside photography? Does this enrich your personal vision as a photographer?

I’m also a graphic designer and I have a need to do manual things, so even within the photographic world, I work with alternative historical processes that require manual skills. But I think what I like most of all is the experience of being a father. I have a 12-year-old daughter Olivia. It enriches me as a human being and gives me a sense of present time, which consequently enriches me as an artist and photographer. 

How did your practice change as a result of the pandemic?

From 2012, I took care of my sick father in a bed, extremely debilitated with almost no immune system, until his death during the pandemic in August 2020. I even have a photographic project about it – “ESMORESSÊNCIAS” something like faded essences. In this sense, I am coming from a longer process of confinement, but with his death it seemed to me that I started living the confinement of the pandemic late. This affected me a lot, I felt out of step with what was happening in the world. I’m trying to catch up with the pace the pandemic has imposed on us. I think I’m coming out of grief and reinventing myself.

So, what next for you? Any plans for this or any other project?

In the midst of the mask process, I realized that many people went through the immersive experience and never had the opportunity to go to an exhibition and many who visited the exhibition did not participate in the experience. I planned my 2020 year for workshops where the participants, in addition to going through the experience, could learn an ancient photographic technique called “VanDyke Brown” and make their own mortuary mask in fabric, linen. “SUDARIES” is the name of the workshop. With the pandemic and the death of my father, this was postponed, but I am thinking about resuming this process. These images are from the workshop.

At the same time, I have been working on a project “MUFF Joint Paths,” with the CDF Montevideo (Montevideo Photography Center) and the exhibition of the works will take place in 2022. My project is called “FURYO” and to get a sense of what it is about, I have transcribed the project presentation text with this image:

FURYO – Dissident bodies – possible utopias

“The breath, according to the myth of origin, was the precise moment in which we became human. What was just matter devoid of any meaning, molded to the designs of a creator in his image and likeness, was filled with life and meaning. However, involved and impregnated with this humanity, it was no longer possible for us to undress, the body thus began to transform itself incessantly, becoming a spectrum and representation of oneself and others, in a kind of curse. As foreign bodies, it was up to us to return to the creative raw material, break free from the skin we inhabit and trace new dialogues based on the plenitude of a transfigured nudity, which springs from its own will and imposes itself due to its imperfections and uncertainties”. Alessandro Celante

Furyo – 不慮」- Unforeseen, unexpected, sudden, accidental, fortuitous, casual, refuse.

Thank you Alessandro for sharing your work and thoughts. It was a real pleasure.

I would like to immensely thank you for the opportunity and emphasize the importance that being part of this publication helped me to restart my activities. I hope one day to be able to take the immersive experience beyond the borders of my country, until then we’ll take care of ourselves and protect ourselves!

Mieke Douglas

Mieke is a Dutch and Canadian Fine Art Photographer, living in London. She is known for her atmospheric lighting and surreal perspectives. Her work is described as moody, almost painterly, with an underlying sense of unease. She has recently won several major awards including: International Photography, Chromatic, Minimalist, Julia Margaret Cameron, Budapest International and British Photography Awards. Mieke was also Shortlisted for the Alpha Female Award at the Sony World Photography Awards and for the Association of Photographers Emerging Talent Awards. Her work is held in private collections and has been published and exhibited internationally, including at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. She has recently had her first Solo Show, ‘STILL”, in London. Mieke has just won Open Image Barcelona and will have her ‘White Horses: Covid Dreams’ series exhibited in Barcelona this Autumn and will be exhibiting her latest series ‘Lost Society | Looking In’ at the Head On Photo Festival this November in Sydney. She is an ArtCan Artist and a member of The Royal Photographic Society, The Association of Photographers, London Independent Photography and Photofusion.

More Stories

Maximilian Chini; Venice and its canals..

Maximilian Chini; Venice and its canals..

How many years spent in this city. By now I know her well: years of work for Caffè Florian and its vernissages; the oldest historic café in the world, opened in 1720, in the years of maximum splendor of the Venice carnival…
AImagine: the new Era of making Art ?

AImagine: the new Era of making Art ?

We are experiencing a turning point; indeed, I would say a revolution in the artistic disciplines, especially those relating to visual art; it is the beginning of a new Era in which the current paradigms will no longer be valid, in which reality will be questioned or modified through alternative realities.
Terra Mater – Ode to My Family  by Marco Castelli

Terra Mater – Ode to My Family by Marco Castelli

Words are not inherently suitable to embrace any even blurred concept of time, and beside all speech being made nowadays around the sense of family, its true nature belongs to the undetectable trace we leave through centuries, and to our relationship with time itself.

Portrait Photography Awards

We invite you to participate in the first edition
of the Portrait Photography Awards. We are looking
for the best portrait for this year, 2023.

Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of portrait photography.

DEADLINE | FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2023

PHOTO BY © JOSE GIRL
The magical hidden world by Georgi Georgiev

The magical hidden world by Georgi Georgiev

The magical hidden world project was selected and published in our print edition 23. These photos are one of my personal best from the past few years. Most of them are from one place where I spend every spare moment to take photos.
Sleepless by Rebecca Sexton Larson

Sleepless by Rebecca Sexton Larson

Growing up I always had an affinity with the night. It was when I did my most productive work, alone in my bedroom free from noise and distractions. I would find comfort in the subdued light and quiet stillness, losing a sense of time and being absorbed in the moment of creating art.
Pride and prejudice by Renata Dutrée

Pride and prejudice by Renata Dutrée

Pride and prejudice project was selected and published in our print edition 23. This ongoing series of studio portraits of young men is intended to challenge the viewer with social constructs that are centered around masculinity and femininity. Gender bias, gender roles and stereotypes can affect everyone negatively.

Featured Stories

Heroes by Erberto Zani

Heroes by Erberto Zani

Acid attack survivors in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh most of the people called them “monsters” or, sometimes, “victims”. But they prefer to be considered “survivors”. For me are heroes.
Faubourg Treme by Alexis Pazoumian

Faubourg Treme by Alexis Pazoumian

There are many similarities between Louisiana and my country of origine, Armenia.That they are a victim of a natural disaster or a crime against humanity, a doggedness of the history
Lost America by Matthew Portch

Lost America by Matthew Portch

Lost America examines a quiet stillness in a forgotten landscape that is, in a sense: ‘on-pause'. Backwater towns and rural corners are juxtaposed against the ambiguity of isolated suburbia.
Berlin bhf. by Anna Tihanyi

Berlin bhf. by Anna Tihanyi

Berlin bhf. (bahnhof) is a staged series that is rooted in intimate issues of my personal life, through which I could emphasize Berlin being a transitory place, a habitat of the passengers.
China; The great wall by Chiara Felmini

China; The great wall by Chiara Felmini

China is almost a continent and as such can offer extremes and opposites at the same time; the ancient and very distant culture can still be observed in remote villages, increasingly surrounded by the advancing and swallowing civilization.
Canary island; Captain Flint by Oliver Weber

Canary island; Captain Flint by Oliver Weber

Around me furnishings in the style of "Rustic German" dating from the 1970s. Hunting trophies, a skeleton, a treasure chest, swords and books. I am not alone. With me is Captain Flint.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/bannerpr.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Portrait Photography Awards. Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of portrait photography.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/mono2022.jpg

The best 100 images along with the winning images published in the yearly book “Monochromatic – Best Photographers of 2022”

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/banner24.jpg

Call For Entries #24 | After 23 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

Postarchitecture by Victor Enrich

Postarchitecture by Victor Enrich

The work of Victor Enrich is intimately connected to architecture. Since our origins, mankind has expressed itself in different ways, using all sorts of techniques and technologies, in order to communicate and evolve.
Everyday life; Our summer stories by Kata Sedlak

Everyday life; Our summer stories by Kata Sedlak

The idea behind the photo series "Our summer stories" came to existence after my three-year break - the maternity leave.
June Korea – Still Lives: Eva

June Korea – Still Lives: Eva

I began photographing dolls in 2001 to listen to their voices, and see their secret lives once again as I did in my childhood. And after a few years of inviting them into a photographic world I staged, I started asking myself, “Why do I really photograph dolls?”
The exposed city by Sevil Alkan

The exposed city by Sevil Alkan

Taking photography by mobile phones created a new trend by changing the border and direction of the photography
Jovana Rikalo ; Fine Art Series

Jovana Rikalo ; Fine Art Series

Jovana Rikalo is a fine art and portrait photographer based in Serbia. She loves to capture emotions and feelings, outdoors, in breathtaking scenery. 
Women hold up half the sky by Gerard Exupery

Women hold up half the sky by Gerard Exupery

It’s another beautiful day in paradise. Dark, and rainy. It’s one of those days that suggest the beauty of film. F-stop wide open, the darkness and grain, the feeling of an impressionist painting.

Trending Stories

Spirit of India by Jacque Rupp

Spirit of India by Jacque Rupp

India has always held a special place in my heart. My first visit was during an extremely difficult period in my life, as my husband had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. 
Metanoia by Raziye Koksal Kartal

Metanoia by Raziye Koksal Kartal

It's a metamorphosis from the egg  to the butterfly. This metamorphosis is the biggest one  in nature,  if we dont count  the transformations of  the life and death instincts in the battlefield of human soul.
Chiarascuro by Graeme Youngson

Chiarascuro by Graeme Youngson

In photographic terms it’s usually taken to mean photographs taken in strong low sunlight where the highlights retain detail but the shadows are left well alone.
Portraits Talk by Aman Chotani

Portraits Talk by Aman Chotani

Aman Chotani , A Professional Travel Photographer who has found acclaim across major exhibitions and brands. His motto Travel to beautiful, Rusty, adventurous locations to capture untold stories, unseen traditions and unprecedented experiences.
Self-portraits; I’m not here by Lise Johansson

Self-portraits; I’m not here by Lise Johansson

I’m not here is a series of self-portraits photographed in an abandoned hospital. The project is a reflection on mental illness and about identity in a state of transition. 

Tribal traits and traditions by Trevor Cole

Tribal traits and traditions by Trevor Cole

The Omo valley of Ethiopia is home to approximately forty tribes, living in climatic, social and political margins. I aspire to capture these people as they are, in a state of transition as outside influences increasingly make an impact on their indigenous culture.
Emotions by Jady Bates

Emotions by Jady Bates

Anger is both relief and a body flood to action; transitory though it may be.
Love is surreal - learning and accepting, joyfully, yourself and others.

Interview with Alain Licari; Published in our print edition #12

Interview with Alain Licari; Published in our print edition #12

When we started the project with Dia and her children, we didn't know exactly how we were going to organize ourselves. But the idea was for me to follow them as closely as possible and for as long as possible.
Japon Flottant by Cyrille Druart

Japon Flottant by Cyrille Druart

Floating Japan brings together a collection of photographs taken in October 2018. An effervescent but at the same time relaxing and inspiring country, the title refers to this impression of detachment one can feel there, mostly due to the gap between reality and interpretation.

Other Stories

stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Get in Touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.