I can tell with no doubt now, looking back, writing this a year after I took these photos, that the day after the Brexit referendum was the saddest day for me in a long time. It was like a dear friend had died.
I decided to go out and photograph the general mood of people on the day they were supposed to be voting to Leave or Remain in the European Union.
The people I saw in the area of the Square Mile, the Financial City — London, were nervous, anxious, I saw people sobbing, I saw near car crashes. I saw people completely drunk, alone, at 4pm. It was a weekday so they would be coming from work, maybe? Everyone was as afraid as I was that a simple vote would change their lives.
London voted mostly to Remain. A city that thrives on it's diversity could only chose to Remain... I forget sometimes that London is only a city in a much bigger country.
The next morning I was awoken with the words "Brexit won." I cried afterwards.
Strange times we live in.
I plan to shoot more when Brexit comes so this work is far from being completed.
Cova da Piedade
I grew up here. My whole family lived in this area. My grandmother’s flat was just down the road. I remember when the comercial centres were modern and the shops were booming. The 90’s were amazing in Portugal. Cash seemed to flow easily. Some improvements were made to Cova da Piedade at the time. The water collectors were fixed to prevent floods, a few new housing blocks popped out here and there. There were plenty of shops and restaurants. There were so many kids my age around… It was never a posh town but it was never a bad place to live either.
Then austerity came. My generation grew to end up in unemployment. So did the generations that followed. Lots of people left and went abroad. The youngsters that stayed didn’t have much to do.
I left as well. Every time I go home I can see that my hometown is getting uglier and uglier. The decay is impressive. It’s still a safe place to live but the comercial centres closed down, every wall has cracks and grafitti tags, the population is old. Everywhere you look, you see an old person. Part of the grafitti is even vintage! You can read words and protests from the 1976 presidential elections! “Vota Octávio Pato! Spínola fascista!”
Things seem to be picking up around there, though. The neighbouring towns are looking smarter, tourists are visiting (bizarre!). And while that happens elsewhere, Cova da Piedade remains as it is. On it’s way to become a ghost town with so many stories to tell.
A short trip but very inspiring. I need to go back and shoot more. Gotta love that sandy colour everywhere.
The nightingale farm
It is because of her love to Nature that Maria José Bernardino, choreographer and dance teacher from Almada, Portugal, goes every weekend to the village of Seda, Alter do Chão, where she owns and tends an allotment by a brook.
Every story told (and danced) by Maria José is born here. She has worked this land for 18 years, more recently with permaculture. Here she observes little saplings sprouting, and the land, very fertile, overflowing with life. This is where she feeds her dreams and creative spirit. It’s the perfect ecosystem — she tells me. Where no fertilisers or insecticides are allowed, the earth regenerates in harmony. The land gives back in gratitude for the dedication it receives.
This series is solely about the crossing of the river Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal, by ferry —the Cacilheiro.
All my life I used these ferries to commute. One day I decided to move to London and with that I realised that my daily commute was over. People like me that grow up in Almada, learn to love the river only because of this daily 10-minute journey. I decided to photograph what the commute looked like, always with a feeling of sadness for leaving it behind.
Since this series was shot, one of the ferries in the photos has been decommissioned.
A man has no hope in life. Inspired in Chico Buarque's song Construção.