Public Republic random header image

Photography – Sharing the Invisible

March 19, 2009 by · No comments

Velina Vateva’s interview with Cesar Pimentel

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

Cesar Pimentel is interested in the enigmatic. The photographs in his exhibit, “Bulgaria My Eyes Wish To See,” may present spring and summer scenes in Bulgaria, a particular place, particular people, are not the subjects of his photography. Rather, he is interested in what hides behind the image. His photos dance. They seem to invite the viewer into a sort of spontaneous, absorbing and personal story.

The day after the opening of “Bulgaria My Eyes Wish To See,” I spoke with Pimentel about photography and his inspiration.

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

Cesar, in what way are you connected with Bulgaria? How do you feel about this connection?

My connection with Bulgaria was born when I saw Krasimira (Pimentel’s partner of two years) in Portugal. Afterwards, when she returned to Bulgaria, this connection became stronger and a little bit later I came (to Bulgaria) and it was so interesting for me. I noticed the people here. It is a magical connection.

Photo: Lidia Kulekova

The couple met after Pementel saw a photograph of Krasi and requested an introduction. During the first days of their acquaintance, they did not speak much. Pimentel did not speak English, and Krasi did not speak Portuguese.

Photo: Lidia Kulekova

However, there was a connection, and after Krasi’s return to Bulgaria they wrote to one another, teaching one another Portugese and Bulgarian. Though it had not been intended, when Pementel came to Bulgaria to visit, he ended up staying for half a year. It was during this time, in the Spring and Summer of 2007, that he shot the photos that became this exhibition.

Photo: Cesar Pimentel

Before coming here, did you know something about the country?

I knew a little bit about communism (we laugh), basic historical facts…

Cesar talks about his connection with the sea with passion and yearning. “This connection is really deep. My whole life is connected with the sea; I have lived near the sea since I was a child. When I am away from the sea, I do not feel happy.”

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

What would you say about the Black Sea in Bulgaria? How do you feel at its shore?

For me Varna is very special, it is so beautiful there! I want to be there and stare at the sea. I also dream of being in Burgas. In Brazil people know almost nothing about Bulgaria. Most often they associate it with something cold and dark. When Brazilians saw my exhibition, they said: “But it is so wonderful there!” Indeed, Bulgaria is so beautiful; here you have sea, mountains…

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

The exhibition was presented in Brazil twice. There too, people were fond of the photos. The photos made Brazilians curious – they wanted to search for information about Bulgaria, a country mostly unknown. Pimentel is a Brazilian
who “dared” to present to Bulgarians and the world his view and interpretation of Bulgaria. Maybe when we see a thing from “outside,” our look is deeper, more intense, and we perceive the quotidian in new ways.

Pimentel shoots his photographs on film—this allows for imperfection, the “danger” of tiny scratches. It is this fragility that makes the photos so unique.

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

What does “to see” mean to you? What do you feel while you take pictures?

I love taking pictures of people. However, while picturing them, I do not think of them as an object of my attention, more as a subject, whose attention is being drawn by another object. I try to perceive their feelings and thoughts—to understand what they understand, wonder over and feel thrilled by; their life’s rhythms.

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

Faces are the connection between the world and I — like a mirror, their expressions reflect the world. My exhibition does not show my point of view. I try to show in what way these people see the world, what is the culture they bring.

For me photography is investigation.

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

Under every photo there is a key – short verses Cesar wrote and Krasi translated.

I know you write poetry. In what way your photos are connected with your verses?

Yes, I write poetry. I am very influenced by Brazilian poets. I participate in a group of poets and artists who work in all fields of art and this group has been a great influence. However, my work prevents me from going back very often.

I also love Bossa Nova—when I was taking these photos, I was often listening to them. This music was an impulse for me and helped me a lot.

Also, I write texts no one sees.

Poetry gives birth to photos and vice versa. They are in a really tight, beautiful relation. Sometimes,
while reading poetry, a photo comes into my mind. Other times when I take a picture or I look at somebody else’s photo, feelings and thought rush to me and I make out of them words.

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

Are you able to read Bulgarian poets?

Just a little bit. I have read Ivan Vazov and like his poetry very much. I would love to read more Bulgarian poetry, however, unfortunately, not much has been translated into Portuguese.

There is this sentiment, even in one of the songs by Depeche Mode: “People are basically the same.” What do you think about this?

For me things do not look like that. I believe every one of us is unique, embodies his/her unique nature and individuality, and expresses his/her culture. And my photos speak about this notion of mine.

Photo: Tihomir-Caspar

“Bulgaria My Eyes Wish to See” will be coming soon to Varna.

Related posts ↓

No comments so far ↓

  • Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!