João Pina September 10, 2008Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Portugal.
Former Portuguese Political Prisoner
João Pina ( b.1980, Portugal) started working as a photographer at the age of 18. In 2002 began working in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba and Paraguay. In 2004-2005 he decided to go back to school and enrolled in the Documentary Photography program at ICP. His work has been published in The New York Times, Newsweek, GEO Magazine, El Pais, Days Japan, Expresso and Visão among others. He has exhibited his work in New York (ICP and Point of View Gallery), London (Ian Parry Award), Tokyo (Canon gallery), Lisbon (Casa Fernando Pessoa). Since 2007 he has been based in Argentina, where he continues to document the remnants of a military operation named Operation Condor aimed at destroying the political opposition to the military dictatorships in South America during the 1970s. He is a member of the Portuguese collective Kameraphoto since 2003.
About the Photograph:
“This project about Portugal’s former political prisoners means much more to me than just photography. It is about my own heritage as a young man. It is about me, even if it happened many years before I was born. It is about a very small group of people that were arrested, tortured and sentenced to many years in jail because they thought differently. Both my grandparents were part of this group. My grandmother Albertina Diogo and my grandfather Guilherme da Costa Carvalho (who died in 1973) were members of the Portuguese communist party and fought with their ideals against a fascist regime that lasted for 48 years in Portugal making it the longest dictatorial regime of western Europe in the 20th century.”
“The story is neither new nor is it exclusive to fascist regimes, but to me, marked by this heritage and seeing how uninformed my generation is about what happened only a few years before we were born, it had always made me unconformable. I felt it was my task to revive their memory so that they do not die (as some already did) with their stories. I paired up with Rui Daniel Galiza, a young Portuguese writer, to interview and record these people’s tales. What is shown through these pictures is but small sample of what thousands of people suffered in Portugal, and unfortunately still do in other countries with other regimes. This is my homage to the ones who still fight for what they believe in regardless of the high price they will have to pay.”