Terra Cinza

Terra Cinza (Ashen Land)  resulted from visits to the Caldeirão hill range in southern Portugal during devastating fires (2012). The results of these fires served as the motivation and the urgency of the work . The ancestral relationships and livelihoods of the local populations with their environment and ecology radically changes, radically disappears, in a matter of hours. The Ashen land scape and ecosystem that result from this “inferno” made clear the need to produce photographic work. Documentary work dominated by little or faded colour, by grey and black. This  charred ecology, this scorched earth, with its livelihood sustainability radically questioned, is dominated by brand new shining wind generators. A XXI century icon of technology over nature.

The photographs of the abandoned (1964) São Domingos mine ruins take the absence of colour to the extreme of black and white. A process that removes from that landscape, from those ruins, a dominating reason for amazement (colour).  Thus open up a possibility for an alternative viewing experience, and to establish an initial connection with the burnt hill ecology.

Representing the spatiality of the two situations – mine and hills – was an important concept. To further this idea panoramic images (6 images, c.150-180º view) were assembled. These views/vistas where complemented by more tightly framed detail photographs. In the panoramic views, the viewpoint intentionally avoids dominating the landscape. A suggestion for the observer to follow, to be drawn, to be lured, and to “enter”, this Ashen Land.

Terra cinza was publicly presented for the first time at the Galeria Fernando Azevedo, [Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes (SNBA) Fine Arts Society], Lisbon in November 2012, as the SNBA representative/entry in the XII Bienal de Fotografia (Photography Biennual). See video by Marta Covita. It is an ongoing series, currently focusing on rural landscape change in the South.


fine art prints, various dimensions.

‣ Versão deste artigo em: pt ‣