When I was a child, every time I looked at a work of art, I would play a game with myself. After looking at a painting, I would close my eyes and try to imagine how the artist looked, how his studio was, and how the process of creating this painting unfolded. Often I ended up meeting the artist because my mother worked at an art gallery. To my surprise the artists were very different from the pictures my imagination painted. In 1993, I started my first photography essay, still intrigued by the artists' creative process and his surroundings and driven by the urge to find the missing link between the artists and their work. I contacted random artists who were active in the ‘90s in Brazil. I asked if I could spend some time with them on a day they were working. During my project I encountered different artists with different styles in different stages of their careers. When the artists I photographed started to work, they soon created a rhythm, some working in a visceral manner, some gestural and others meticulously. Some gave the impression of floating while others were deeply rooted in the ground. In this essay I captured a portrait of each artist and his/her environment. I dissected their personalities by focusing on the details, such as a pair of shoes or the way they arranged their tools. These pictures show not only a part of the art scene in ‘90s Brazil, but also my freshness about photography. I explored composition freely, not yet polluted by rules and theories. My lighting was experimental and accidental. In all, my photo essay depicts 14 different artists at work. The pictures of Dudu Santos were exhibited at the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado (FAAP) in 1994. The others appear here for the first time.
Antonio Helio Cabral
Antonio Henrique Amaral