Sep 19, 2009

Rolleiflex 3.5 F - Monsaraz, Alentejo, 7th of July 2009

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I have been travelling to Monsaraz, and photographing there, for many years now.
It is a small village in the south of Portugal, with a castle on top of the hill, overlooking the surrounding valley.
A couple of years ago, the construction of Barragem do Alqueva made a dramatic change in the landscape. Where once was dry land, the waters now reflect the deepness of the blue sky.

Without wishing to dig further into ecological arguing and considerations, I must be tempted to ask myself: "for what so much blue?".

I can foresee the tourist resorts and the golf courses popping up here and there, and I can even envision the big cash flowing in some big scale agricultural projects; but not in the pockets of the few old people remaining in the region, the ones who have been there for ages. They will keep living in poverty, as they always did, forever forgotten and misused.

I hope that I will be proved wrong...











Some twenty or so years ago, you still could watch authentic life in Monsaraz. At the end of the day, the farmers would bring their mules and donkeys to drink by the fountain, the women would sit by the door knitting and chatting.
You still could hear children playing and laughing.

Twenty years ago, you could still feel the pulse of Monsaraz.

Now Monsaraz is an open museum, meaning that besides a couple of souvenir shops and some restaurants, there is very little life to be found there on a day-to-day basis. In the evening, the shop owners go live their lives somewhere else.

I have the consolation of so much beauty...







All photographs shot with a Rolleiflex 3.5F, with Carl Zeiss Planar f/3.5 75mm.
Kodak TX, developed in Agfa Rodinal, dil. 1+50.



And that is how we started the "session", refreshing ourselves with a cool glass of beer, gazing at the marvelous sight of the valley below...

If you got some curiosity about Monsaraz, you can take a look at some more (color) photographs by Helena, posted on her Digitalis Kitsch Blog, under "Kitsch Promenades".
You find the link on the right.

Hope that you enjoy, and have a good weekend.

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5 comments:

  1. beautiful photos. TX400 in 120 + Rodinal is one of my favorite combos. Though now I am trying out two-bath developers like Thornton's for TX400.

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  2. I enjoy your beautiful images, so skilfully and masterfully captured, Rui. It happens, these so called developments - even here, right smack in the wide span of padi fields, which you can stop by the road and just enjoy, they (the "wise" men up there) decided to build a waste sewerage for the whole surrounding area of Kota Kinabalu city. This I know is not for touristic purpose - this is for money. Thanks for sharing again your photos - I enjoy them so much.

    Have a good week.
    Esther

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  3. So I came back to your blog and found this series (again) that I have seen a couple of times now. I think it would be very well worth to be published in a small book ... together with the story that you have written.

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  4. Thank you Maddoc,
    In the moment, I am a little tired of books...
    Please, don't understand me wrong, I do love books! But it is frustrating to make books for such a marketing as ours...
    My experience is mostly about architecture books, but it is hard to believe things would be better somewhere else.
    But then I think that you are probably right: maybe I should stop doing books about other people's works, and start concentrating on my own work! Sadly, at the moment I am too damm broke for such adventures... I am considering some portfolios made of originals, done the old way, that is in the darkroom.
    Please, keep visiting the blogue. I will put some more images of Monsaraz soon.
    Cheers,
    Rui
    P.S.: I also very much aprecciate your photographs. Your work is very good!

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  5. Rui,

    thanks a lot for your kind words !

    Please keep your excellent work up, just detected your "Wedding Andalusia"

    Gabor

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