It is not today that the photographer Iatã Cannabrava has his gaze turned to the periphery. An eye-to-eye look, of experience, of exchanges. A view that develops when talking to the residents, when having a beer with them in a bar, when visiting their homes. From 1997 to 2007, the photographer visited places far from downtown São Paulo and the big cities of Latin America, for what he calls his “longest photographic project”. The objective was to document the daily life of communities from the point of view of the people, “far from the traditional denunciation of misery and poverty seen by photographers' telephoto lenses, from top to bottom and, invariably, in black and white”, reflects Iatã. “I always felt more comfortable there, in the communities, sitting at the counter of the first bar when entering each one of them”, he says.
In general, these essays are almost always carried out in black and white, but it was in color that Iatã Cannabrava discovered the language of the periphery. “I only photographed in black and white, but when I did the Casas Paulistas shoot, in 2000, I discovered color.” In this book, an essay on the various ways of living in São Paulo, we have already found the germ of the essay on the periphery.
The name of his “longest photographic project” has its raison d'être: Iatã thought of returning to the same places, from time to time, to photograph the development – or not – of the visited outskirts. She didn't. In 2008, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. The illness gave him another perspective on life: “The illness limited my activities, but it did not prevent me from carrying out my projects”, he argues, however.
The photographer then delved into his archives, continued, in some way, to talk to the people he had met on his travels, kept his memory alive: “If you have never been to one of these peripheries physically, it is difficult to really know”, he explains. “I loved walking through the dark streets, or following the parties, seeing everyone dancing, I felt alive and safe”, he concludes.
Now, his memory and his experience can be seen in the exhibition Another city, another time, Museum of the City of São Paulo, curated by the critic and researcher Rubens Fernandes Junior.
The exhibition brings about 80 photographs, recorded in an analog system, using medium format negatives, in various peripheral neighborhoods. The images range from Capão Redondo to Itaquera, in the city of São Paulo, as well as Belém, Caracas, Lima, La Paz, Buenos Aires and Montevideo. For curator Rubens Fernandes, the essay remains current:
“The territories remain as centers of cultural and political resistance. Time is noticeable in the rehearsal photographs another city through small details: furniture, clothes, gestures, advertisements, automobiles, among other indices that qualify and specify the past”, he argues. "THE photography is one of the most striking visual manifestations, precisely because its origin is closely associated with the idea that 'photography is the unequivocal record of the visible world (of reality)'.”
For Iatã, now is the right time to present these images. The city gained another time, a new dynamic. He perceives time differently these days. A slower time: “Before my illness, it was about the self, now, it is about the other, from another time, it is important to talk to the other, to know about the other. I am very grateful to everyone who opened their homes, communities, lives, so that we can see each other better, and to everyone who, after the project ended, continued by my side”.
Very concerned in his reflections with the creative act, with chaos and order, Iatã Cannabrava says: “For me, the periphery is closer to the soul of this country than our ordered avenues”.
Iatã Canabrava, Another city, another time
Casa da Imagem – Museum of the City of São Paulo Rua Roberto Simonsen, 136B – Sé – São Paulo (SP)
Until October 23st
Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 17 pm