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Eduardo Leal September 29, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Portugal.

Procession of St. Bartolomeu. São Bartolomeu do Mar, Portugal. 2011

Eduardo Leal (b, 1980, Portugal) graduated in Journalism at Escola Superior de Jornalismo and has an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication. He worked as a consultant to The Arpad A. Busson Foundation on the Cuban in Revolution and The Struggle During the Apartheid photography collections, where he was an assistant curator for exhibitions at ICP in New York, 2010, and at the Garage CCC in Moscow, 2011. His work has been published in: TIME,  Dagens Nyheter, Sydsvenskan, Al Jazeera, Wired, Publico, Fotografia Magazine and the British Journal of Photography. In 2013, he was selected as Coup de Coeur by l’Association Nationale des Iconographes at the Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan and in 2014 he was shortlisted for the Kuala Lumpur Photo awards. Eduardo is based between London and Caracas.

About the Photograph:

“I’m glad you choose a photo from this project. People tend to focus in other works I’ve done, but I really like this story, maybe because it has some personal connection. The image was during the St. Bartholomeo festivities in Portugal. This project is part of my rediscovery of Portugal. After living for so many years abroad, I started to document traditions in my own country. It was a way to not only discover and understand where I came from and also myself and St. Bartolomeu was my first project in this identity search. My mother was born on a city close by and during summers we used to pass there and see the celebrations. So it made sense for me to start from a place I knew.”

“While photographing the celebrations, I thought it was strange, even bizarre that there were so many people in their swimwear enjoying a day on the beach and pretending as nothing was happening. Well some of them look, went to see the statues of the saints and took photos, but they were there more to enjoy the day on the beach than to participate in the ceremony. I loved the contrast of the people dressed up accordingly to procession and the other just enjoying the day. I specially love the hairy man walking to the procession, something that a few decades ago would be consider a sin, and the children playing with the sand as if nothing was going on. I think it shows what is happening in Portugal in terms of religious beliefs. Portugal is a deeply Catholic country, but more and more people, especially the young generations are not interested in. Its just something that people almost erased from their lives.