Seu Antônio

In Brazil, the increasing number of people living on the streets is one of the greatest indications of the precarious situation in which the public sphere is. With the country plunged into an economic crisis, the high level of unemployment and the bad remuneration of several categories were some of the consequences that aggravated this situation.

In the city of São Paulo, the largest urban center of the country, this sad scenario is present on a daily basis and on all sides. In 2013, I started this essay by portraying people who were in a street situation, trying to give them the same visual language (more pretentious and elaborate) usually used in advertising, fashion or even political campaigns. So I chose to use the same feature for all portraits. A battery flashlight with an accessory called “beauty dish”, widely used for photographing great celebrities or people of great political or social relevance.

These encounters were so remarkable that I decided to start recording the conversations, and it was then that I met Seu Antonio. Very generous and kind, he shared some of his experiences of 12 years living on the streets, ten of them in the wheelchair. The story of Seu Antônio is one of millions worldwide and each of these portraits has great narratives.

The singularity of each one within this heterogeneous group that undergo complications of the most distinct motives are usually seen in a homogeneous way, as a same group. An impasse of the present when thinking the sense of social reality, and as an objection to this impasse comes the provocation to replicate this story. In the same way that common sense operates, all these faces become Seu Antônio. It turns out that here they have an unshown past and a visual language worthy of their experiences.

In our redoubt of individual interests, in which the dominant narratives are emptied, these faces are a challenge to think which stories deserve relevance, aiming at the current public debate. In this sense, letting stories flourish in our imaginary through each face, each portrait, is inevitable.