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Por Este Rio Acima – The Leica digicam Weblog


In his newest collection Por este rio acima (Up the River), Gonçalo Fonseca takes us on a particular journey: he explores the course of the Ceira, a small and pure mountain river in Portugal’s heartland. Over a size of solely about 100 kilometers, it flows furtively by means of nearly forgotten villages and small cities, locations which have struggled to keep up their vibrancy within the twenty first century. For the Portuguese photographer, nonetheless, it was additionally a really private venture, as his household roots lie within the space he visited.

You reside in Lisbon – was the journey to the quiet Portuguese countryside additionally a response to the present pandemic scenario?
Sure, the pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, impacting our psychological well being in a deep means. I used to be longing in a means for this journey; to be out within the wilderness and to get an opportunity to place the previous two years into perspective. Because of this, I made a decision to start a journey on foot, from the mouth of the river to its supply, excessive up within the mountains of Serra do Açor.

What connection do you could have with the area?
My maternal household roots lie on this area. I first went there once I was simply two months previous, and, for a very long time, spent my total summers there. I grew up on this place in the course of nature, studying from my father and grandfather concerning the timber and animals. For my grandparents, it meant a non secular homeland, the place they felt near their roots and to nature. It was the place the entire household would get collectively at particular occasions of the yr: to honour the lifeless in November, for Easter in Spring, and throughout the summer time.

Are there any recollections which have formed you particularly?
I spent my childhood there, disappearing from dwelling for hours at a time to discover and to climb timber. I’ve very fond recollections of that point: mushroom searching and fishing with my grandfather, and strolling within the wilderness with my father, the place I might be taught concerning the totally different species that lived there.

How lengthy you had been on the street for this venture?
I used to be there for 2 weeks from September 12 to 26. I walked alone many of the means there, but in addition obtained a few rides, in order that I might full the journey in time.

In any other case, you had been at all times on foot?
My maternal grandfather grew up poor, in a small village on this area that was recognized for its high quality wood utensils. As a toddler, I beloved listening to his tales of these occasions, particularly when he instructed of his adventures, strolling tons of of kilometers within the winter to promote his wares at markets, sleeping in animal pens and assembly totally different individuals. I suppose I needed to expertise that in a small means.

That looks as if a giant problem, not solely bodily but in addition emotionally.
I walked about 100 kilometers in actually tough terrain and needed to take care of storms and pouring rain. It was bodily and emotionally demanding, however very peaceable as nicely. On this space that’s so acquainted to me, but on the identical time very new, I felt extraordinarily related to the land and the individuals, and it made my work way more instinctive.

Had been there any experiences that impressed you particularly?
Reaching the supply of the river was one of many highlights of the journey. Though there wasn’t a lot to {photograph} there and the climate situations had been horrible, it was a exceptional expertise. I awoke earlier than daybreak, in order that I might return to Malhada Chã, the final village earlier than the supply, in time to be sheltered from a storm that was looming. The earlier days I had been consulting with shepherds who indicated the way in which there, up a steep hill and following rarely-walked paths. I walked for 2 and a half hours to succeed in the supply, and as soon as I arrived, I might barely see due to the dense fog. All I might hear had been the deer’s mating calls and the small hum of gushing water.

On this journey, you had been one of many first photographers to have the chance to work with a Leica M11. How did you get on with the digicam?
At first, I used to be slightly intimidated by it. Considering again on the historical past of images, so many historic and memorable photos have been crafted with this technique, I felt it was one thing of a duty to make use of it.

However your images show that you simply had been capable of work shortly with the digicam…
Sure. After that first response, I grew to become so in tune with it, that it felt like I’d shot with an M digicam all my life. On the finish of the journey, I felt extraordinarily related to the digicam, having lived this excellent and emotional expertise with it in my arms.

What impressed you most about working with the Leica M11?
The colors it renders and the nice element of the pictures actually stunned me. I used to be anticipating it to be good, simply inferior to that. Normally, I’ve to work on the pictures slightly bit in photoshop, to match the imaginative and prescient I had of them once I shot them. With the Leica M11 nearly all of the pictures got here out precisely how I had pictured them.

Did the journey change you?
It made me really feel nearer to my ancestors and to myself. It was a pleasant change to work on a extra private story, not realizing what I might encounter on the subsequent bend within the street. It made me improvise and be extra artistic. It was a really rewarding expertise and one that can inform my apply sooner or later.

Gonçalo Fonseca (born 1993) works as a documentary photographer, particularly on long-term tasks. His topics, which he finds in Portugal in addition to worldwide, deal primarily with human rights, well being and tales about housing. He obtained a B.A. in Journalism, adopted by postgraduate research of Photojournalism on the Autonomous College of Barcelona. His work has been printed in quite a few worldwide magazines. He was awarded the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award in 2020 for his collection New Lisbon. He’s a member of the non-profit group Photographic Social Imaginative and prescient and teaches Pictures on the Pelos Teus Olhos venture in Chelas, Lisbon.
Extra of Gonçalo Fonseca’s work will be seen on his web site and Instagram channel.

A portfolio of his present work will seem in LFI journal 2/2022.

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