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Photo Essays

João Pedro Marnoto | Nine Months of Winter and Three of Hell

[W]ith the title taken from a popular expression from the Douro and Trás-os-Montes region, the work reflects about the people that leave beyond the slopes of the Douro River, engrained in the land that sustains its hunger and the faith that points towards the skies, in a step and deep vertigo in the temperature of the soul, the body and nature.
As one of Western Europe poorest regions, it persists a sharp rural character where the ties with nature and religion are still very strong and visible. Beyond doubt one of the last frontiers of rural life in Western Europe. However and despite the land desertification and low economic strength, the situation of hunger is never a chance since the basic needs are still guaranteed by the traditional work in agriculture and animal farming.
The many national and global economic, political and social changes of the last decades and it’s reflection on the local communities, together with the desire of younger generations to look away for better opportunities and future that home cannot guarantee, left many small places with few habitants mostly elderly with the occasional younger face born out of a family still resisting the appeal of the big town.  However it rejuvenates temporarily during the summer holidays season when all those that went away return mostly during its religious and popular festivities to visit home, family and friends, portraying a very particular facet of Portugal recent identity.
The projects presents the raw and daily life of the human condition holding strengths with the elements of nature that surrounds him, transporting metaphors of a particular time and place. Allied to a strong feeling of belonging, personifies a culture and a human relation with nature and faith vanishing in a growing and pitiless confront with new social, economical and political realities and challenges, soon to be presented only as part of tourist broachers, and replaced with more urban landscapes of an always late modernity. It is a visual representation of the opposite end of the chain of evolution and progress that brings with it the disappearance of past values.

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