Art is Not Propaganda, an editorial

Here is the editorial I’ve written for Propeller #3, about Propaganda. This editorial introduces a series of great essays, namely: Fire Inside, by Pete Brook, Propaganda and photography at the front door, by Teresa Mendes Flores, and Shooting in the name of (and now you do what they told ya): Photojournalism – keeping the status…

Read More

From Icon to Splendor – about Valter Ventura’s ‘Light and Darkness’

The following text is a short and edited version of the essay written about Valter Ventura‘s exhibition Light and Darkness, (“Compêndio de observações fotográficas: luz e cegueira”), produced specifically for the Lisbon Municipal Photographic Archive. The full original version was published in the respective catalog. Several mythological narratives account for the gods’ will to punish…

Read More

From Africa to Sweden to Brazil: the problem with cultural appropriation (in the age of social networking)

caption: unknown author, at Stockholm Pride Festival In the past few weeks several events concerning cultural appropriation have motivated public discussions. I’ll be focusing on three: Gucci’s blackface jumper, Amanda Lind‘s dreadlocks and Donata Meirelles birthday photograph with two black women wearing traditional Bahian outfits. The fact that I’m appropriating these events in order to talk about cultural…

Read More

Every trace of death is benettoniful

caption: Oliviero Toscani for Benetton, 1992. In 1982 the Mafia killing of Benedetto Grado in Palermo, Italy, was captured by Franco Zecchi. Ten years later the image was featured in Benetton’s spring/summer 1992 campaign. Various publications refused to publish the image and the dead man’s daughter claimed she would sue, asking: “How does my father’s…

Read More

Ruth Van Beek and the need to wonder

caption: © Ruth van Beek, The Situation Room (Two figures), 2018. When I regard van Beek‘s collages I immediately know they were made by a woman. There’s a feminine sensibility at play, an heritage of affective labour that is put to work. This idea of a visual heritage is not a reference to a nostalgic…

Read More

All photographs look alike and I blame digital design

caption: image illustrating an article @ Time.com, entitled TIME’s 25 Best Photobooks of 2018. The first sentence of the article reads: “As an antidote to your unyielding Instagram feed, consider the photobook.”  I’ve been thinking about photography’s relationship with digital design in the twenty-first century. After some considerations and discussions with colleagues and students I…

Read More

The uncanny power of a portrait

caption: © Pierre Gonnord, “Ali” 148 x 125 cm. Color photograph under plexiglass, framed.   I’ve had this portrait hovering in my desktop since November. From then on, I kept avoiding identifying the author and seeing further work, already suspecting my enthusiasm would be cut to shreds. It was and it wasn’t. I’m clearly not…

Read More

Photography and psychoanalysis as overlapping fields?

Searching the web for author Glorija Lizde (b. 1991, Croatia), whose work Persona(L) I came to know in December due to Parallel Review, I was surprised to find a particular essay accompanying her project F20.5 (2016-2018). That particular text, published at Hulu-Split, is an excerpt from Ana Peraica‘s Culture of the Selfie: Self-Representation in Contemporary Visual Culture. But before…

Read More

Photography, you slut!

Right before the year comes to an end, every online platform rushes to publish their best-of lists. Excited, editors exchange reviews and debate on their conclusions. The most this, the most that, the best photographs, best exhibitions, best books… It’s guaranteed that the photography market will be alive and kicking for another year. As for…

Read More

My dog died a dying death

It’s a new year and I’m back at Nihilsentimentalgia with the usual suspects: photography and death. No surprises there. My oldest dog, Ghost, died last week. To be fair, I killed him. As I made the choice I thought I’d have to assist him in his last breath. That decision led to the creation of…

Read More

Ewa Kuryluk’s love letters

My understanding of one history of art is just not there. There are many reasons for that and no need to address any of them. Now I find myself discovering Ewa Kuryluk’s work (via books and internet) and I fail to make sense of this late encounter. Why not sooner? I arrived at Kuryluk’s work…

Read More

Dante Busquets: ‘Sateluco’ (featuring Propeller’s open call for edition #2 – fiction)

SATELUCO Dante’s statement A self-referential photographic analysis of middle-class suburban Mexico City, based on past relationships with people and urban space, that seeks to establish a visual dialogue with them in the present day. I examine social stratification of the Mexican culture in Sateluco. This project, which received the acquisition prize of the XII Photography…

Read More

Fábio Cunha: ‘Zona, An investigation Report’ (featuring Propeller’s open call for edition #2 – fiction)

ZONA – An Investigation Report Fabio’s statement After the housing crisis caused by the economic and political power, the housing authority decided to open an investigation to assess its consequences. Given that previous reports were ambiguous, fieldwork was needed. Thus an investigator was sent to ZONA with the specific aim of preparing a visual report on…

Read More

‘TOO GRAPHIC TO IGNORE’

photo: Palestinian mourners carry the body of eight-month-old Palestinian baby Leila Anwar Ghandoour, who died from tear gas inhalation in Gaza City on 15 May 2018 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency] As of Sunday, a succession of events has once again reanimated a question that often comes to mind, namely: what would make me go into exile? Throughout…

Read More