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Exhibition / Screening /
Symposium / Workshops
Published 2010

Copyright © 2010
A Brush With Light

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may

be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photography, recording or any information storage
and retrieval system, without prior permission in
writing from Celia Jackson

Design by Duncan Gravestock.

Foreword by Celia Jackson & Humphry Trevelyan
Printed in UK by Sharman & Company Ltd and
paper supplied by Sharman & Company Ltd.

Cover Image: ‘Hagakure II’ By Miguel Chikaoka 2010



Fotoativa is a collective of photographers in the eastern
Amazon that has been working together since 1982. They
are based in the city of Belém in the state of Pará at the
mouth of the Amazon, a declining seaport of nearly 2
million people, surrounded by intensive agrobusinesses,
riverside and island communities, and further afield large
tracts of rainforest. The city combines burgeoning high
rise apartment blocks and large areas of 19th and early
20th century town housing, enriched with newly restored
18th and 19th century churches, municipal buildings, fine
squares and parks, the clutter of riverside markets, the roar
of buses, and the daily drumming of rain.

From its start, inspired by the radical ideas of Miguel From the now iconic work of the first generation of Fotoativa
Chikaoka, and the innovative work of photographers like that mapped in light the social and creative culture of
Patrick Pardini and Elza Lima, Fotoativa has evoked a a whole region, the second generation – Paula Sampaio,
particular philosophy of the photographic image and its Flavia Mutran, Mariano Klautal, Walda Marques, Alfredo Bitar,
relationship to individual creativity and the community. Guy Veloso, Alexandre Sequeira and many others – in most
The famous ‘oficinas’ (workshops) held in Fotoativa’s cases introduced to photography through the collective
premises, and in communities in the city and countryside, action of Fotoativa - have pursued with extraordinary
encourage both novice and experienced artist to explore clarity the different routes and pathways that the pursuit
the fundamental properties of light, the creation of the of light might lead to. The migrant communities of the
frame as a function of the individual gaze (‘olhar’), and highways, the hidden histories and narratives of the city
the individual’s response to their surroundings and culture. itself, the extravagant rituals of a people at one with their
The photographers of Pará talk about the light of the great spirituality, synchretic and received, the human response to
skies, the water, the forests, the communities that make an overwhelming natural world of vegetation, the narratives
their lives at the rivers edge, the city that merges with the of imagination and dream: this diversity of vision is held
communities, the sense of shared history in a region that is together by a common reference point, a shared learning
happy to feel separate from the larger Brazil to the south. and continuing discussion and debate.

And now the third generation is spreading its wings, with

a diversity and fluency that reflects the effortlessnes of the
contemporary means of communication. There is a sense
that the combination of the material, artesanal approach
to light and the image combines even more closely
with the eclecticism of the digital and virtual. Memories
communicated and re-ordered in bytes, recognising and
respecting the revolutionary simplicity and openness of the
pinhole camera, and exploring the new representation.
One of my earliest memories of Newport is of a windy
riverbank, tangled with long grass and brambles, near the
old art college (as we called it) with its distinctive green
dome, in Clarence Place. I was crouching in front of
a shoebox that I had fashioned into a pinhole camera
with little more than black paper and tinfoil. As it was
a grey morning the light was poor, and I had to wait a long
time - nine minutes - to take my self-portrait. Good-natured
men on their way to the Labour Exchange (long since
demolished) asked questions and offered advice;
a dog bumped my shoebox camera; the wind blew in gusts,
bringing spatters of raindrops. The resultant picture was
a revelation: my hair was a weird fuzzy mass (Eraserhead
springs to mind) and my mouth was no more than
a blur, for I had spoken to so many curious passers-by. The
simplicity of my primitive camera belied the complexity of
the image it produced; this was the beginning of my affair
with photography, and with Newport itself.

A Brush with Light has always had at its heart the city An important element of A Brush with Light has been
and the inhabitants of Newport. What began as an the programme of photography workshops led by Miguel
almost desultory conversation about the joys of primitive Chikaoka, founder member of Fotoativa, that took place
technologies - particularly the use of the pinhole camera - in a temporary darkroom at the Riverfront Theatre and
in respect of photographic representation has developed, Arts Centre. They involved a number of staff and student
over the last 18 months, into an ambitious and multi- volunteers from the University who worked with members
stranded project that draws together a disparate range of from Urban Circle, a youth organisation based in the
practitioners from Wales and from Belem in Para, Brazil. city centre whose objectives are to engage, support and
Their common ground is a preoccupation with the status of empower while offering an open access ‘safe space’.
the photographic image and with the use of photography Subsequent workshops involved the refugee community of
as a tool of philosophical enquiry. There is a rich history Newport in what, we hope, has proved a powerful bonding
of photography in Newport (it was first taught here in exercise. We are celebrating the achievements of all
1906) and projects such as the Newport Survey have workshop participants by exhibiting their work in changing
been influential in shaping how its inhabitants view the displays in and around the Riverfront that are highly
city. Belem, too, has a long and honourable tradition of visible and accessible to all. At the same time, we hope
photographic activity, especially in terms of participatory to communicate the idea of photography as something
workshops and informal exhibitions based in both urban more than the ubiquitous mobile phone or digital camera
and rural communities. images that relentlessly pervade everyday life. A camera
may be as simple as a cardboard box with a hole at
one end and a piece of paper at the other: the light
does the rest.

Belém-Para 2005

Born in Belém in 1970. 2003 for his video Doris, and
Started his photographic in the same year a bursary
practice in 1991 to produce the video
participating in workshops Enquanto Chove by the
at Fotoativa. Has exhibited Instituto de Artes Pará. In
in collective and individual 2005 he gained first prize for
exhibitions, notably Solitude best video at the 2nd Belém
(1994) and Hecate (1997). Festival of Brazilian Cinema
Awarded special prize at the for his video Partida.
Salão Arte Pará
Nazaré de Mocajuba, Pará 2005
Born 1961, Belém-Pará. participations in Belem, Pará He brings the printed cloths
Graduate in Architecture from 1983 to the present, that formed the core of his
at the UFPA, Belém, 1983. include ‘X Bienal de Havana/ work with the community
Lecturer at the Instituto CUBA’ 2009; ‘Sangue Novo’, of Nazaré do Mocajuba,
de Ciencias da Arte, UFPA, Museo Bispo de Rosario, Pará (2004/5), and his
in semiotics and Visual São Paulo, 2008; Creative more recent project ‘Meu
Arts. Solo exhibitions Residency, Centre Culturale Mundo Teu’ (My World, Your
include Itau Cultural, Engramme, Quebec, Canada, World), 2007, involving
Sao Paulo, 2007; and 2007; Bienal Internacional the exchange of images
‘Impressoes de um Lugar’ de Liège, Belgium, 2006; between young people living
Belém, 2004, based on his ‘O Que e Normal’ FUNARTE/ in urban and rural Pará,
groundbreaking work with Brasilia, Brazil, 2006; ‘Une using pinhole and digital
the community of Nazaré de Certain Amazonie’, Paris cameras.
Mojacú (represented in the 2005.
exhibition). Collective shows,
not including frequent

Since graduating in 2009 In June 2009, Ashley Givens, Brendan has currently been
from the University of Wales, curator of photography undertaking his commission
Newport, Brendan has been at the Victoria & Albert for ‘A Brush with Light’,
working as a self-employed Museum, selected Brendan’s as well as interning for
photographic artist from his work as one of the most London based photographic
base in Cambridge, England. promising talents from 2009 magazine, ‘HotShoe’ and
His work, often focused UK graduates. His work continuing an independent
around the environment and has also received acclaim project entitled, ‘Intimate
the relationship between through recently exhibiting Distance’.
art and science, explores at galleries in London and
abstracted views of nature Bristol.
and evokes his particular
interest in fantasy.

Image 1
On The Arrow of Time
La vida d’un Artista (series)
5x4 pinhole photograph,
silver gelatin print

Celia Jackson has lived In her hands the Most of the time she Such images often bear
and worked in Wales for photographic process is uses a pinhole camera, a little resemblance to their
the last twenty years. Issues revealed as an agent of deceptively simple device referents: soft and blurred,
of mutability lie at the transformation - rather that produces strange, fragmentary and layered,
heart of her practice, much than reflection - of the unsettling images saturated they speak instead of the
of which is rooted in an real, congruent with the with emotion and nostalgia, artist’s inner life, of the
extended meditation upon translation of ideas and whose complexity belies the chaotic nature of subjective
the treacherous and elusive subjective responses from simplicity and purity of the reality that time and again
medium of photography. the imagination into the camera itself. threatens to overthrow the
visual image. controlled mechanisms of
public life.

Corinne Gartmann is from the landscape and
a photographer and people of Monmouthshire.
printmaker living and Recent work has included a
working in Monmouthshire. series of screen-prints based
She is currently completing on figurative war memorials
a Masters Degree in in and around South East
Printmaking at the University Wales which was exhibited
of Wales Newport.Corinne at the Riverfront in January
draws her inspiration this year.

Rio Trombetas
Keith, refuse loader
Digital photograph
B & W negative
Rio Trombetas

Pará 1996

A photographer since 1984, Two projects between emotional world constructed
she has focused much of 1999 and 2003 traced by these peoples, a subtlety
her gaze on the riverside the journeys of Amazonian of interpretation of their
communities of the Lower explorers such as Otille raison d’etre, their mirror
Amazon, with projects Coudreau, first woman on their own world. Elza
such as the ‘Rota d’agua’ photographer of the Amazon, Lima’s work is archived in
project in the Rio Trombetas and Francisco Orellano, museums and foundations
(1996), documenting the one of the early colonial across Brazil, and in
‘quilombo’ communities of explorers. This immersion in Portugal. She holds the title
Afro-Brazilians, and a series the historic representations of official photographer to
of visits to eight indigenous of the Lower Amazon and the the Executive Secretariat of
peoples in the states of Para documentation of its various Culture of the State of Pará ,
and Maranhao, (1996-1999) communities has given undertaking documentation
funded by the Fundaçao her work an extraordinary of the cultural life of the
Nacioanl do Indio (Funai). sensitivity to the cultural and Lower Amazon region.

Digital / Scanned
Brazil 2009

After studying architecture, Her most recent work of male and female,
then journalism, her early includes the ‘EGOSHOT’ achieving improbable
professional work was based series, taking images from physiognomic representations
in photojournalism, while she social networking sites to of memory and forgetfulness.
became involved in Fotoativa construct representations Currently engaged in research
in 1986. Her first recognised of people who do not exist, into poetics in the context of
work was developed through unreal and distorted avatars new technologies and their
the series ‘Caixa de Pandora’ of the web world. BIOSHOT impact on photography and
(1992-94), followed by the (2009) and ‘THERE’S NO the image.
‘Pandoras de Agua’ series PLACE LIKE’ (2010)
in 1996, alongside her develop the theme of the
‘Palimpsesto’ series (1995- accumulation, combination
96). ‘Quase Memoria’ (2000- and distortion of web-based
04) explored the fragility of portraits into model-matrixes
the relationship between
materiality and memory.
Born in Belem 1969. Since 2005 he has taken locating this intensity within
Graduated in Law, working as on the curation of a number the popular communities
independent photographer of photographic shows in from which it emerges.
since 1988. His work has Brazil. Veloso’s work has Working entirely in reversal
been published in the been described as provoking film, his images shine with
UK (University of Essex a certain discomfort, a sharpness and intensity
Collection of Latin American a certain strangeness, of colour, and precisely
Art), Portugal (Coleçao articulating a complex delineate the often awkward
Nacional de Fotografia, dissonance between the shapes of religious devotion.
Centro Portuguese de real world and other worlds
Fotografia, Porto) and across (Máttar, Firmo). His images
Brazil, and he pioneered the focus on the intensity and
first live web private view in passion of the penitent, the
Brazil (1998). religious cult, while

Kodachrome, Leica
Pará 2003

Born Belém, graduated Co-coordinator of the
in Social Science at the ‘Café Fotografico’ project
Federal University of Pará at Fotoativa. Ionaldo’s work
(UFPA). Participated in explores how developments
Fotoativa workshops in in mapping technology
2004, including cyanotype can interact with more
and caliotype workshops. conventional forms of
The series ‘The Asphalt photographic representation.
Garden in Artesanal At the same time, his
Photography’ was produced pinhole work introduces
with a grant from the IAP a sense of the cinematic
(Arts Institute of Pará). image, while his essays in
Received an award to cyanotype printing invoke
participate in the 2nd Salon the vegetal themes of other
SESC of Contemporary Art in photographers.
Higher Education (2009).

Google map, digital master

Cidade Satélite 1

Belém-Pará 2009
B & Wprint from negative.
Círio de Vigia.

Irene Almeida Started her Currently teaches Camera
photographic career in 1996 Obscura and Camera
through her involvement Artesenal at the Curro
in the activities of Fotoativa. Velho cultural centre and
Almeida has participated at Fotoativa, supports the
in many collective Colóquio de Fotografia
exhibitions in Belém, and e Imagem and the Café
was awarded 2nd prize in Fotografico and has been
the Prêmio Salão Primeiros par t of the directorate of
Passos – CCBEU 2001. Fotoativa since 2007.
Semelhança Cabocia 2
35mm colour negative
Belém-Pará 2009


Born in Belém 1989. and in the Inicial – Fotografia
Started his photographic Contemporânea Paraense,
practice participating in 2010. He hopes to uncover
the workshops at Fotoativa, new natural, social and
Belém, and currently artistic horizons through the
colllaborates in their documentation of people,
Nucleo de Formação e places and landscapes,
Experimentacão. Exhibited ‘researching the invisible that
in the ‘Surra de Arte’ show at permeates contemporary
the Atelier Cultural Corredor human society and its
Polonês, Belém, 2009, and relationship with time’. He
in the XVIII Salão de Arte is completing his studies in
Primeiros Passos – CCBEU, Social Communication at the
Faculty of Pará.
Joyce Nabiça was born on the outskirts of the Since 2007 she has been
in Belém in 1981, and city, using principally developing a project in the
came into contact with pinhole cameras. She has Vila de Barca community,
photography in 2001 at the participated in the famous applying the poetry,
Curro Velho Foundation, Pinhole Day exhibitions at subjectivity and uncertainty
a cultural centre based in Fotoativa since 2003, and that characterises pinhole
inner city Belém, offering exhibited work at the ‘Mostra photography, providing an
classes in a wide range of de Artes Primeiros Passos’, alternative viewpoint of this
creative disciplines, in the CCBEU 2007, ‘O Eterno established but threatened
same year she became Feminino’, Belém 2008, and riverside community.
involved in Fotoativa. In 2007 ’Fotoativa Pará –Cartografias
she started to document Contemporaneas’, SESCE
the culture of the riverside Pompeia e Santana, 2009.

Pinhole colour negative

Festa 3

Bla bla bla
DV Video
c. 2006

Born in Belém 1987. The loss Since then she has Graduated in Visual Arts and
of any visual record of her participated in a number Technology at the University
earlier family life created an of collective exhibitions, of the Amazon, she is
absence which led her to salons, and seminars, and studying for a Masters in
initiate a search for image, was a founder member of Arts at the Federal University
and she attended Chikaoka’s the group ‘Espiandomundo’, of Pará. She has gained
Photo Morphosis workshops associated with Fotoativa. Her awards at the Salão SESC de
at Fotoativa in 2003. work includes the artesanal Arte Contemporânea Belém
(pinhole), documentary, and 2008, the Grande Premio
more recently video. Arte Pará 2009, and the
Premio FOTOARTE Brasilia
Paisagens da Janela
Colour negative on print;
scanned oil on canvas.
c. 2005


Born in Belém, Brazil in He has exhibited in Brazil and His work in recent years has reflect on intimacy and
1964. He lives and works in beyond, including Mexico, focused on the emotional memory, with the ‘Paisagens
Belém, as photographer and Uruguay, Argentina, Germany, narratives embodied in the da Janela’ series, reflecting
researcher, and gained his Spain, and France. His work architecture and design of the paintings of Edward
Masters in Communication is held in collections at the the city. His long-running Hopper, the latest stage
and Semiotics at the Museo de Fotografia, Curitiba, series ‘Materia Memoria’ in this development.
Pontificia Universidade Brasil, at the Museo do started in 2002, and explores Current experiments in
Catolica in São Paulo. He is Estado do Pará – Belém, and the possibility of developing quasi-cinematic motion
a Lecturer in Photography at the Joaquim Paiva Collection cinematic resonances in complement his narrative
the University of the Amazon, at the Museum of Modern Art, sequences of images that projects.
Belém, and has won the São Paulo (MAM).
Grand Prize - Art of Pará, in
2001 and 2007.

B & W 35mm negative

Espelho d’agua

Miguel Chikaoka, of light which has won Chikaoka started his Apart from publications in the
photographer and educator international recognition. photographic career press and electronic media
by choice, has lived in The guiding principles of in the 1980’s, creating of Brazil and overseas, his
Belém – Pará since 1980. his work find an echo in photo-reportage and work is placed in the archives
He created Fotoativa the educational practices documentaries for a of museums in São Paulo,
in 1982, since when it that recognise the number of publications, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, New
has become a critical importance of constructing and in the early 1990’s he York and Paris. Chikaoka will
centre for the formation a consciousness of world created his own Kamara be showing a new version
of a great number of citizenship, and his focus Ko photographic agency, of his celebrated ‘Hagakure’
contemporary photographers on the philosophical based in Belém – Pará, work, expressly created for
in Pará. Experimenting in understanding of light producing reportages and ‘A Brush With Light’, that
interdisciplinary approaches and image has been documentaries about the expresses the extent to which
to photographic education, seminal in the work of social environment of his practice is influenced by
Chikaoka has established three generations of Amazonia. Eastern thought.
a unique methodology photographers in Brazil.
Belém – Pará 2009
Subaquatica 13
Born in Belém, Pará, Her first solo exhibition was in Her work has a focus and
1981. Graduated in Social 2005, based on the rescuing execution that creates space
Communications and of the memories of the for unexpected elements of
Graphic Design. Since inhabitants of communities identification and reflection.
2002 she has worked on the periphery of Belém, The series ‘Chuva’ (Rain)
in photojournalism and Para, through their family explores the context of the
illustration. She has records. Her association with ever-present experience of
exhibited in galleries and Fotoativa began through water in tropical Para, and is
collective shows across workshops. She works in extended in examples of her
Brazil, receiving awards editorial and photojournalism most recent works, ‘Du sang
such as the Secult Prize in for a range of publications en Ciel’, ‘Watertears’ and
Visual Arts, and scholarships across Brazil. ‘Subaquatica’.
including the Study Abroad
Bursary for research into
Visual Arts based in Quebec,
Canada (2009).

Old George
Light Box

Smithson has worked for He has worked on a range Wales Millennium Centre
over sixteen years as a of private commissions, and Gwent Independent
mixed media artist, using a including painted works sold Film Trust, as well as events
combination of traditional throughout the Channel companies working for
skills and techniques, Islands and Wales, as well clients such as Bacardi and
combined with photography as illustration projects for the MTV awards. Smithson
and digital technologies printed outcomes in both is currently studying
to create hybrid visual the private and commercial for a Masters degree in
outcomes. He has also been markets. He has illustrated Printmaking at the University
involved in arts education in and designed fantasy of Wales, Newport where he
technical and lecturing roles artwork for literature, band is developing new skills that
since 2001; he currently logos, DVD/CD and book will complement his range
teaches at the University design. Smithson has also of theoretical and technical
of Wales, Newport, in the produced branding solutions disciplines.
Department of Design. and graphic treatments for
companies such as the
Born in Niteroi, Rio de rural Amazonia, in Pardini seeks to redefine
Janeiro, and resident in assocoiation with the the look of the spectator
Belém. A founder member Kamera Ko agency. After a faced with representations
of Fotoativa, between 1983 five year residency in Amiens, of nature and its complexity,
– 1993 he realised a series France (1995-99) where and rejects the simplistic
of documentaries on the he curated the ‘Une Autre opposition of natural versus
Amazon region, including an Amazonie’ and ‘Mondial industrial. Pardini has
archive project based in the Hors Champ’ exhibitions, exhibited widely in Brazil,
‘quilombos’ – Afro-Brazilian Pardini returned to Belém Latin America and Europe.
– communities on the Rio wher he started his most
Trombeta of Para, and a year recent and current project.
later collaborated on an ‘Arborescência’ is based on
audiovisual documentation research into the relationship
of the lives of adolescents in between humans and nature,
civilisation and forest.

B & W negative


Paula Sampaio
B&W negative
Pará 1996

Paula Sampaio was born Her principal photographic Sampaio’s images are
in Belo Horizonte, Minas focus has been on the striking and often oblique
Gerais, Brazil in 1965, communities that live on representations of the
and has lived in Belém the edges of the principal human and literally earthly
since 1982. Graduating in highways of the Amazon environment of the migrant
Social Communication, she region, in particular the communities along the
undertook graduate study Transamazonica and Belém- highways, and have become
in Communication and Brasilia. This work, which iconic within Brazil and
Semiotics. Her photographic started in 1990, has received beyond. At the same time,
career began in 1987, a number of bursaries and her work fiercely protects the
working in photojournalism, awards, and has continued dignity and privacy of the
and she became involved during the last ten years. people she works with, and
in the activities of Fotoativa. Her most recent work, ‘Terra serves as an object lesson
She currently works for the de Negro ‘ documents the in the long term relationship
‘O Liberal’ newspaper, and at Quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) between photographer and
the Instituto de Artes do Pará. communities of Pará. community.
Crescer pra que

Belém-Pará 2009
RAFAEL PINHEIRO ARAUJO Born Belém 1986. Graduated
in Marketing (CESUPA 2007)
and Comunicaçao Social
UFPA 2009. Attended the
Photomorphosis’ workshop,
led by Miguel Chikaoka, April
2010. Rafael has exhibited
collectively in Brazil and
Cambodia, and received
awards at the Concurso
Movimento, Belém 2008. His
work explores the relatively
unrecognised culture of
communities dominated by
the river and the small scale
industries that live from it.

silver gelatin print



Siobhan Canavan studied on using her Holga camera, recognisable and her She wishes to convey how
the BA (Hons) Documentary with which she produces steadfast commitment to valuable a tool photography
Photography course at the the dreamy, dematerialised black-and-white film evokes can be in the contemplation
University of Wales, Newport, images that are her a wistfulness and nostalgia of past events, and to invite
graduating in 2009. She trademark. She prefers the for childhood and times the viewer to question why
lives and works in London softness of the Holga’s gone by. For A Brush with one chooses to capture and
and has undertaken a images to the pin-sharp Light Siobhan has created document certain moments
number of commissions digital technologies with an atmospheric short film over others.
and internships, including which the photographic featuring green spaces and
Running in Heels and marketplace is currently places of interest or beauty
Burberry respectively. swamped. Her highly in Newport, and entitled ‘A
Whatever the request, distinctive style is instantly Welsh Picture Story’.
Siobhan is insistent upon
Marques worked for 17 Walda has gained awards Amongst her outstanding
years in make-up for in the Salao de Fotografia work is the series of portraits
theatre, TV and studio do Centro Cultural Brasil- of the women of the Ver o
photography, and developed Estados Unidos, Belém 1997, Peso market, Belem,
her photographic practice the Abra/Coca-Cola project, a project that she developed
through the workshops São Paulo 1998, and the in collaboration with Miguel
of Miguel Chikaoka at Salãão de Arte Parã in 1997 Chikaoka. Her work is about
Fotoativa. She established and 2007. She has exhibited the feminine universe,
a portrait studio in 1989, in at the Musueum of Modern an ironic and passionate
collaboration with Otavio Art (MAM) São Paulo in 2003, account of the world of
Cardoso, and has developed 2005 and 2006, amongst desire, love, hope, disillusion,
a series of ‘fotonovelas’ many other exhibitions laced with echos of tabus
whose narratives are based across Brazil. and sensuality.
on texts, illustrations and
photographic images.

Belém-Pará 2009
Noiva 2



Project Co-ordinators
Celia Jackson
Humphry Trevelyan

Project Co-ordinator / Curator, Brazil

Patricia Costa

Curator, Wales
Celia Jackson

Assistant Curator, Brazil

Ionaldo Rodrigues

Assistant co-ordinator, Brazil

Luciana Magno

Catalogue Design
Duncan Gravestock

Epsilon printing
Ian Llewelyn
Gawain Barnard

Fabrication & installation

Matthew Harris

Special thanks to:

Nick Cadman
Miguel Chikaoka
Geraint Cunnick
Emmy Chater
Paul Davies
Michael Goode
Derek Lawther
Denis Lewis
Mohamad ‘Fez’ Miah
Chris O’Malley
Jason Small
Nic Young