Sep 19, 2009

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


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.


Sep 14, 2009

Works Of Art (5)


Margarida Neto, "Coreografia", 2002 (8x10")

Mário Cesariny, "Penélope Corre ao Encontro de Ulisses", 1974-85 (8x10")

Mário Cesariny, Relógio, Lima de Freitas..., (9x12)

Paul Gauguin, "Nature Morte aux Pommes", (6x6)

Roberto Chichorro, 1994 (4x5")

Roberto Chichorro, 1996 (13x18)

Rogério Chora, "Embarcações no Rio Sado", 1994 (9x12)

Roland Topor, 1989 (6x7)

I would like to share with you once again a small selection of paintings that I had the chance of photographing through the years, on different occasions and using different cameras: Gandolfi 8x10 (sometimes with 5x7" reducing back), Sinar F2, Hasselblad 500 C/M and, for the last image, Mamiya RZ67.
Lighting as usual by Hensel Flash, Würzburg, Germany.

In this kind of post, I don't find it very polite on my part to say that I prefer this or that artist; I am sure that you agree...

Anyway, I think that nobody will dare to criticize me, if I admit that I found a very deep emotion photographing the painting by Paul Gauguin.
Somebody was not only lucky enough to own such a valuable work of art, but also made good use of it: that person had it hanging in the bedroom wall, right in front of the bed.

Imagine laying in your mattress with such a view...

(Please, don't bother to ask where, because I forgot it long ago!).