The people relationship always caught my interest, especially as a photographer of street portraits.
I could tell you about the experiences I had with strangers for hours, being able to shutter the barrier and understand how perfectly, two unknown people can get in touch and share feelings together.
Sometimes a conversation flows into a larger and broader discussion that involves not only feelings but also familiars, friends, dear ones. It is something unexpected when a stranger open himself so much that I feel almost embarrassed but then, it is the moment to capture their emotion, nothing more real and true than e deep feeling coming up, independently for both happy or sad feelings. You are able to see through their eyes what they feel and most of the time I went away with a deep touching feeling too. Empathy?! Maybe yes, Freud, in one of its studies as well as technique, tried to make his patients relive a psycho trauma to let them overpass the illness. It seems hard to believe but such effect it can be seen in a portrait too. Often accidentally, the conversation turns into a serious one with great involvement of my subject, and mine as well, this help me incredibly though, since the portraits that come out during these “sessions” are the most intimate ones.
I spent lots of time walking through the towns of Portugal looking for the right subjects, the perfect moments to get “THE PICTURE”, then, I realized to have collected a pretty singular upstream pictures of lonely people who right away gave me the idea to represent a unique feature which characterize Portugal. Yeah! It was there! That melancholic longing feeling on what Lisbon is famous for, “Saudade”.
A small collection of frame depict the melancholy typical of the old times, which, even if hidden among the people is strongly perceived after a while walking through the alleys of Lisbon. It is not a coincidence the use of B/W in high contrast, being able to create a deep view to the reader, emphasizing the atmosphere, the drama and favour the empathy feelings that bring you in their shoes.
This “project” was not planned. The group of shots displayed caught my attention and I noticed they had something unique in common, this leading me to think about the possibility to show a remarkable feature of Portugal the theme of “Saudade”. Lonely people are a recurrent subject, so common that never has taken into consideration so… something pushed me even more and I said to myself, why not to challenge this rule and use these shots to tell the tales of this country, starting right from that melancholic feeling!
The Saudade it is a recurrent word on many of the poetries, song and aspects of the Portuguese Life, especially in the Past during 13th century when it had already used by poets. The origins seems then dated back to the Time of Great Portuguese Discoveries. It has linked with the feeling felt by people who saw the departure of their love ones to the sea, and then probably meet them no more cause dead in battle or never returned. Great discoveries left then a great lack inside and a constant feeling of absence, sadness, a persistent melancholic state that describe the Portuguese psyche and soon became a sort of way of Life that characterized the Portuguese folk.
No words can be found to describe into another language its significance, we could use the term “Missingness”, which is the closest English word to indicate this mood. Definition of Saudade is not easy, at all, it is a subconscious longing for something that can never be, a heartfelt melancholy for something long past, a hunting, subtle sadness. The lack of something very important which research will be always pursued but never reached.
Thanks to the capability of photography, I intend to show such feeling that I perceived and which I hope close the comprehensive explanation of such State according with my point of view.
Photography is not only a way to show people part of the reality where they are absorbed but rather, it is a powerful tool to make our mind reason about what surrounds us. Often the environment where we live passes unobserved but I want to show what it means for me this feeling of Saudade, seeing my shots I hope you get a hint of it, which might act as an embrace into this wonderful, mysterious way of Life of Portuguese history.
About Alex Righetti
I am freelance photographer based in Lisbon. I moved from my hometown into a different countries living in different reality too, and this changings pushed me towards the photography life. I started almost for fun but it became a serious idea soon. I have never thought that photography could have had such powerful influence on me.
Start reading about photographers and their style I slowly refined my technique selecting the style that makes me have more vibes and satisfaction, in general I focus my attention in Street-portraits but I have much interest to acquire new knowledges in reportage/documentary and Landscape style as well. My shots do not intend to proof my skills, rather it is just a way to show my interpretation and point of view highlighting particulars that may not be considered otherwise. In this tale I bring my vision of a Portuguese “Life-style” less perceived in nowadays but still present in somehow, I will show you how… [Official Website]