The community's soul


João Francisco Vilhena and Mário Câmara Caeiro

Photography | Poetry | Community

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Photographic portraits, adorned with poetic captions
Photography | Poetry | Community

No results found.

Photographic portraits, adorned with poetic captions
Spectrografia [Spectrography] involves the creation of portraits – mostly one to one –, with the goal of capturing every inhabitant of Torrão in the simplicity of a family portrait. This principle guides our criteria. Between abstraction and purpose, mission and fantasy, the process unfolds. João Francisco Vilhena’s photography not only captures but also calls forth the essence of each individual

Every face is unique within the vast spectrum of souls. Each body is akin to a tree, rooted in individuality. Every being can be distilled into a verse that encapsulates an entire lifetime. Facial expressions are like passing clouds.

Spectrography serves as a literal portrayal of the diverse inhabitants of the village and parish, capturing the vivid and contemporary tapestry of social life. It seeks out distinct personalities capable of embodying the sensibilities and spirit of the community.

These colourful images, forged through intimate dialogue with the photographer, offer a reflective window into the present Torrão. A community sculpted day by day through the lives of its inhabitants, these images mirror the faces of participants and protagonists spanning generations. The visuals are immediate, unfiltered, and possess a magical clarity. Their purpose is to narrate a chapter in the ongoing story of Torrão.

In Spectrography, each photograph unveils a profession, a life’s story, a memory—a bio-graphy – Life writing. What’s subtly suggested eventually forms a comprehensive social map of Torrão. In the initial phase (the project’s inception), it was imperative to embrace the diversity of individuals invited to participate, considering age, and identifying elements in their lives. With the collaboration of Mário Fagulha, renowned for his passion for the village’s history and a collector of unique objects (the local Wunderkammer), the images were enriched with items connecting to the person’s profession, pastime, or beloved pet—elements to which the portrayed individuals, after a brief exchange of impressions, willingly associated themselves.

Short, highly condensed texts accompany the photographs, constructing a literary narrative that weaves the identity of the village through an accessible discourse. For maximum impact on urban life, it is crucial that these photographs find a permanent home in diverse institutions and spaces, while also making appearances in unexpected, everyday locations (the pharmacy, the factory, the studio, the workshop, the bookstore, the century-old shop, the café…).

The inaugural session of Spectrography unfolded on May 13, 2023, at AQUI, in Praça Bernardim Ribeiro, as part of the Fim de Tarde event in Torrão. Approximately 50 residents enthusiastically participated in this initial session. The first exhibition took place at the iconic Farmácia Faria, where the furniture holds decades of collective care. Present among the frames is Frigénia, a celebrated author of rhymes and the charismatic star featured in this project’s trailer.

In subsequent encounters, the photographer, reminiscent of a time when capturing one’s image was a noteworthy event, meticulously documented these moments. The images, artfully taken in carefully selected spaces with community collaboration for their symbolic significance, are discreetly staged and seamlessly progress through their journey. Once printed, they grace everyday spaces with the ease of a ‘Good morning!’—adorned in frames of all sizes, on posters, on (so-called) social networks—always accompanied by their respective captions, resembling instant biographies.

This evolving process will eventually culminate in a captivating book. The selected images will find a lasting home in a permanent exhibition. This heartfelt project serves as a homage from CONVENTO DA TERRA to the dynamic and vibrant community of Torrão.