Latin America Week: Adriana Zehbrauskas

This week, Argentinian photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…

Esta es la cuarta edición de la semana, y me da mucho placer presentarles a Adriana Zehbrauskas, fotógrafa brasileña que reside en el DF hace varios años.

Adriana is a photojournalist with an amazing eye. Her work caught my attention while I was looking for images on Faith, and these images had everything I had in mind: great compositions, grittiness and a lot of heart.  I am sharing her series Faith in Brazil and Mexico. 

Adriana was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She received a degree in Journalism and moved to Paris where she studied Linguistics and Phonetics at the Sorbonne Nouvelle. She worked as a staff photographer for  Folha de Sao Paulo for 11 years and is currently based in Mexico City, where she contributes regularly with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Figaro and The Guardian, among others.

The series Faith in Brazil and Mexico was awarded an Art & Worship World Prize by the Niavaran Artistic Creation Foundation and a book is currently under production to be published by Bei Editores in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Image from Faith in Brazil and Mexico
What does your Latin heritage bring to your work?

I
think that in my specific case (not even sure if it is due to my
Latin heritage) it is an obsession with organizing the chaos in my
frame. I was born and raised in São Paulo and have lived the past
eight years in Mexico City, two huge metropolis where the visual
stimulation was always too much, there was always too much going on
at the same time ( São Paulo has now banned all outdoors including
even those hideous gigantic Mac Donald’s Ms). I felt this need to
clean my view, to calculate exactly what I wanted in my frame.

On
another level, Latin America is very religious and that permeates
every level of society in an everyday basis. The reference for the
sacred is constant and really difficult not to notice. I was always
very curious about this subject and I think I always find a way to
portray this angle into my stories.

Do you see a difference between work created in Latin America and
work created in the States?

It
is not a general rule, and I cannot speak for the whole Latin
America, but I see more long-term documentary projects coming out of
the US ( or US photographers) than out of Brazil, for instance.

What is the state of
photography in your country–is it well supported, are galleries
selling, do photographers have an outlet to show their work? 

I
don’t think it’s well supported, either in Brazil or Mexico.
It’s the effort of a handful of people who actually make it
happen. Outlets for showing work are dwindling by the day, newspapers
and magazines have less and less money /space so we have to get
creative now. The internet is a vast space, but we have to still
figure out the best way to use it. It’s just not a matter of
showing the work. Photographers are like any other people in the
world, we have to make money to survive!



Images from Faith in Brazil and Mexico 
 This
project was born from my inquisitiveness and deep curiosity about
religion. Living in Brazil, a country of immense cultural and
socioeconomic diversity and an extreme fertile ground for a plethora
of popular and religious manifestations, it was impossible to grow up
ignoring their intensity and strength.
Have
faith and you will go far”, “faith moves mountains”, and “one
must have faith” are expressions that permeate the day-to-day lives
of people from all social classes and religious beliefs.
With
their millenary experience, the major religions constitute powerful
intellectual structures capable of providing each individual with a
philosophy of life. They attend to the spiritual aspirations of the
human being and to the need to believe in noble values. They provide
answers to the individual’s anxieties when confronted with fear,
suffering and death. They assert that which is true, good and just,
helping each person interpret the world.
The
spiritual search is natural to every human being. It represents the
search for the meaning of life, humanity and coexistence. Religion is
unique to humankind. The cornerstone of any religion is faith. 
This
is a sample of a large photographic essay on  faith in Brazil
and Mexico, focusing on the similarities and differences of that
which is perhaps the only common denominator of all religion.