Sao Paulo based photographer Felipe Avila came into the world of photography through a boyfriend who introduced him to the medium three years ago with the allure of a Pentax Spotmatic. From this initial brush with the medium he was inspired to begin shooting on his mother’s old Olympus Trip 35. I had an interview with him to find out more about his work.
Could you please explain what the various bodies of work you have shared with us relate to?
I think that the political issues that we are facing in Brazil and in the world, go through this question of the body and our relationship with nature. We are understanding the fictions of capitalism and the structures of power are built upon denaturalisation and control over our bodies. So, I think we need to take back our animal body and re-signify our relationship with nature, inserting ourselves into that system that is bigger than us, instead of putting ourselves above it and trying to recreate another nature.
What do you photograph on? Do you work predominantly on film or?
I have developed works in analog photography, researching the body and our relationship with the divine, the profane and nature in these urgent times of the present. I like to photograph bodies in nature and people in the city, in protests, parties, rituals, carnivals. Sometimes I am interested in observing the space for a while, looking into the eye of the person and photographing it in a natural click without pose, on the other hand I also like to propose performances and movements for the people I photograph.
I photographed everything on film — I really like the process of shooting with an analog camera without seeing the image at the moment it is being made. That way, I was able to delve deeper into what was happening around me and not into the image I was [making]. I like to think of a mix between performance and photojournalism, and I’m interested in exploring the intersections between photography and painting.
What is the message of your work?
Photographing is a great experience of relating to the world and getting to know one another, so naturally the photographs say a lot about my way of seeing the world and the processes we are going through in life. With my images I try to look at the bodies that are fighting for freedom and therefore spread this message. I would also like, with the images, to naturalize the naked human body, to remove the pornographic layer, the categories of gender and repression that society has placed on it.
Who are you trying to speak to through the work that you create?
I try to talk to as many people as possible with my work. I am open to dialogue with anyone about the images I propose.