PERSONAL WORK: SAUDADE DA BAHIA
“The city of Bahia, black and religious, is almost as mysterious as the green sea.”
— Jorge Amado
Boasting the uncomfortable title of once being the largest slave trade port in the Americas, Salvador da Bahia has trailed a long, unparalleled history of suffering and overcoming. It is famous for its raw beauty as much as it is for its raw violence.
While violence is prevalent here, it’s also a vibrant place full of mystery, joy and celebration. Bahia stands out like no other, even for a country as culturally unique as Brazil. There are sounds, smells, foods and an exuberance entirely distinct to this region.
Among the photographs I have made in this region over a roughly four-year period, it documents a poor small town celebrating Carnaval by the riverside, a community of squatters that found not just refuge, but life and community in Salvador’s neglected UNESCO World Heritage buildings, a community of African-Brazilian religion Condomblé supporters (which are literally demonized by mainstream evangelical churches) throwing a street party and celebrating their goddess of the seas. These marginalized bits that make up Bahia are celebrating a life full of beauty despite hardships.
An African treasure lost on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Good or bad, terrifying or wonderful, Bahia continues to defy logic and expectations.