This work I am sending you is about witnessing and taking part of the peace process of Mozambique back in 1992-1994, during the ONUMOZ (United Nations electoral mission).
I was an Electoral Officer and took the chance of documenting the process, while getting acquainted with evicted Mozambicans going back home after 15 years of war; Separated families meeting again, and a whole population finding Peace, at last.
For me it was a double challenge: Working for the establishment of Peace through their first general elections since independence (from Portugal, 1975), and “capturing” the Mozambican soul as they believe. We then made a deal, so all characters depicted have their own copy of the photograph – all done on Nikon FM2 and old reliable Tri-X, locally developed and printed in Beira. And Elections duly happened in October 1994.
I therefore feel this is my most accomplished work to date – as a photographer, a Human Rights activist and as a human being sharing Peace with the welcoming characters you will hopefully appreciate in this Portfolio. As for myself, I started as a photographer back in 1985 at the School voor Fotografie in The Hague, Netherlands. It was the time of Fujichrome 50, black and white lab at home and some artistic essays such as Christo’s Pont Neuf wrapping in Paris, or my first job with promotional portraits of pianist Nelson Freire. This all steamed up my preference for black and white, fine grain for colour and above all people in their environment. While working for the UN at the ONUMOZ electoral mission in Mozambique I could develop my relationship with people – smart, intelligent and fierce, no matter what they have been through: Poverty, famine. War. In 1998 I had half of my equipment stolen in Barcelona – my Nikon FE2, lenses… I remained faithful to my remaining Nikon FM 2 but digital times arrived to stay.
I had already embraced environmental then audiovisual activism, and carried on as a TV producer for mainly the BBC, ABC News, TVN Chile among other foreign companies. In 2016 I decided to get back to my roots and purchased a Nikon D5300, transformed to Infrared for my artistic essays – there’s a different and often revealing layer of personality in infrared portraits, I believe. I am currently enrolled in Photography and Image postgraduate studies at IUPERJ in Rio, learning again to feel the world around us, through the persisting seduction of Photography. [“A warm thanks to Marcelo Chelles who has recovered my negs from time and fungi”]