Like many Brazilians, director of photography Bruno de Alencastro, 35, was confined to the apartment he shares with his wife and dog in Rio de Janeiro during the new coronavirus pandemic.
At one point in early April, Bruno felt uneasy. Brazil had more than 7,000 cases of the new coronavirus, according to data from state health secretariats, and there were more than 250 deaths from the disease. As a protection measure, the Ministry of Health recommended the use of protective masks to the population.
On August 3, the country registered 2.7 million confirmed cases and 94,665 deaths, according to data from the Health Ministry. Brazil remains the second country with the highest number of deaths from COVID-19, below the United States.
Bruno saw himself looking out the window of his house. “I looked around and felt indebted for not documenting that moment. At the same time, how to securely record everything? ”He said in a Skype conversation with Global Voices.
Although photography has evolved a lot in recent decades, the principle is the same: a camera is more than a dark box with a small input of light that allows the image to be captured by a photosensitive material, which can be a digital sensor or photo paper.
What if I transformed my living room into a darkroom? Bruno thought. With dark and duct tape, he covered the living room window. After some tests, he opened a hole the diameter of the reel of the tape and there it was: the street, which seemed so far away, was inside the house. On the wall opposite the window you could see the inverted projection of the trees from the neighboring house. The limits of the four walls of the apartment were exceeded.
In Brazil, the first government action in relation to the pandemic was taken in February, with the repatriation of 34 Brazilians who were in Wuhan, China. The first case on Brazilian soil was confirmed on February 26 in São Paulo. In March, the first COVID-19-related death in the country was confirmed: a domestic worker living in Rio de Janeiro. Governors and prefects issued measures of social isolation. Who could started working from home.
Under the hole where the light came in, Bruno put his professional camera. He called his wife, Greyce Vargas, 35, and their dog, Arnaldo. He recorded a moment of the three at the table in the living room with a projection of the three.
“I understood that there was something very powerful, besides that it looked pretty. Something that communicated with people for its meaning and for the moment of isolation that many of us shared, ”he said.
The photographer decided to publish the result on his Instagram profile, and invited 12 friends and colleagues to do the same.
“We had a consistent material with 13 photos of people in different places. I was careful to think about those who live in different contexts, on the outskirts, in the center, with the family, alone … I confess that, at the beginning, I did not believe that people were going to accept ”.
To their surprise, almost everyone accepted the challenge and took photos that they posted. Upon seeing them, people from outside their circle began to send their contributions spontaneously, from other parts of the world.
Before long, Bruno was being tagged in dozens of photos per day and the project was appearing on vehicles outside of Brazil. Thus he decided to make the “Obs-cu-ra” official as a collaborative project. For that, he recorded and edited a video with tips on the best ways to build your own dark tops.
Now, he wants to seek opportunities to finance Obs-cu-ra in order to take it to other countries. Holds:
“I see a commitment to perpetuate the memory of that moment, with its mistakes and successes, and what is happening must be assimilated and understood now and in the future.”
Post other photos of the project.