We keep art in our memory…”
Paul Zimmerman in conversation with Luiz Todeschi
Paul Zimmerman: How did you develop interest in photography?
Luiz Todeschi: I started shooting at the age of 14 with a Kodak Instamatic 60 Film camera for 110 format film. on a tourist trip to the United States, but my passion for photography came early, when my mother showed me our family photo album. In 2012 after analyzing that since that time I had several phases of my life registered by me with a cybershot photo camera, I decided to really change the focus of my work as a businessman and started to dedicate myself totally to professional and expressive photography. I sold the kitnet where I lived to get resources and invest in equipment and free time to travel and produce. At that moment, I started a higher photography course and I didn’t stay one day without photographing in the last 8 years. We have already added 35 years of contact and fascination with the recording of images with light. My interest intensified when photography started to teach me a lot of lessons, developing a way of looking at everything around me with much more care and attention.
PZ: You have been exploring different themes from human condition to social issues and the environment. How do you select your subject?
LT: In the beginning I started to work with themes that challenged me… then I started to let it flow. Often intuitively. I decided to focus on good ecological relationships. Ecology is a branch of Biology that studies the relationships between living beings and the environment where they live, as well as the influence that each has on the other. As my original cosmology comes from the studies of the Lakotas (Native American people) that say “We are all releated”. Honoring all kingdoms and beings. It was a motivation for me to continue on this path. My later themes were denunciatory (photojournalism) or themes that intrigued me and I did not understand wanting to register and already thinking about a transformation. Reassign relationships through messages and proposing more viable solutions. . In this process, I started to choose recurring themes seeking a diversification in the way of doing and choosing the backlight as a background. In this way, I printed a special look to emphasize the situation. At the time, I started to record the cutting of old trees in my region. A project called Araucária Revérbera that taught me to accept certain situations with resilience and also to work towards clarification. And it became a project that migrated from the denunciation to the artistic. Soon after, metaphysical narratives emerged where I really realized that I was working for photographic art and not the other way around. Abortion of the Soul my favorite series. That was when working independently on the chosen themes became really challenging. We are currently planning a special annual project and others that arise are carefully assessing whether we can take on the schedule.
PZ: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
LT: All are equally challenging. To live in a scenario of destruction of nature, human misery, slaughter of animals, and other transgressions as a bellicose world politics, in a world of inequalities and borders and, believing and working to be impartial and not let the emotional and psychological be affected. I consider myself an artist in constant transformation who believes that when the situation is favorable we should enjoy it, when it is bad, we must try to transform, when it cannot be transformed we must transform. In this regard comes the great learning of photography. Another difficulty is the question of being in Brazil, where photographic art is culturally under-stimulated and under-valued commercially. Regarding the commercialization of works abroad, the biggest challenge is to reach buyers and collectors, as it is necessary to have working capital not always available to artists in the area. The geographic distance to meet a global demand increases the logistics costs of the works and distribution, and taxes, among other factors. Now mentioning the main aspect is to keep creative capacity in line with metaphysics and making the decisive moment. Our production rarely allows us to wait for the imagined scene to happen. It just happens.
PZ: How would you define yourself as an artist?
LT: Artist of Change. Sectorial Revolutionary. Ligth Hunter, disturbed and restless, and with a sense of transformation of reality through the alignment of art, science, civil society and private initiative, through the perception of the planetary culture of beauty, self-development, and co-responsibility for the world in we live in, and strengthening the culture of peace and harmony. A creative that came through art to express the desires of Creation. Who wants to embrace and lead a daring project for planetary social transformation through art and other actors and aspires to photographically sign the signature of a global peace pact. Artivist for peace using his express as a weapon! An artist who undressed to learn from art. An artist who loves to live and wishes prosperity for all humanity. Composing with the Universe in the fluidity of artistic existence.
PZ: Do you have any particular goal in mind when your start a new piece?
Yes. In all pieces that start at random or not, we always focus on creating appreciation narratives. It is not always possible but it is ideal when it occurs as planned. It becomes somewhat challenging from the point of view of recording themes that are not very recurring or of dialoguing with the four elements of nature. Likewise, we also usually plan specific projects where we have a well-defined goal and know-how. The specific objective in the end is always the search for imagery excellence and originality; We avoid creations and assemblies. We avoid the use of editing tools for collages of objects that do not exist in the scenes. The objective is also to maintain a minimalist and subjective focus. .But mostly realistic according to what our lens captures. Always accepting the challenges and learnings of artistic channeling. Never underestimating the messages we were chosen to convey.
PZ: What is the role of art in our society?
LT: Art has different roles in the whole process of teaching oneself to think, do and reach the final artistic goal; From allowing the artist to express his qualities in essence until the viewer feels uncomfortable, indifferent, or admired when the art presented causes him some sensation. Regardless of the effect of exposure to art, we believe that in reality art is the very feeling of expressing and existing. Art has the power to question, launch trends, and to value ideas from any point of view. To be an agent of change and transformation. And as a questioner, in a reality of infinite possibilities, if art is used with synchronicity and awareness it can come to offer new knowledge, feelings, and also influence human behavior in a positive way. In this sense, we realize that when humanity changes its artistic thinking it can evolve within this short journey of life or not, when artists and artistic making also change. Art would need to assume a transformative didactic power, become less elitist, and serve what was created. To be positively subversive. To generate transformation in the human psyche. To restore people at risk. To motivate a more fulfilling and happy life. This situation is often expressed through ambiguity by the artist. The art that shocks to raise reflection is shown. But it can also be valued within the energy that cultivates war, hunger, misery and inequality. I really believe that art came to serve the expansion of the Universal plan of Creation on Planet Earth; In this sense, any multifaceted duality of art must also be considered. For the learning and reflections it provides. In the journey of art, humanity could come to have more and more wisdom to consider all its manifestations and relationships important. And in this sense, the current human civilization is in the process of maturing.
PZ: Which artists are you most influenced by?
LT: I like Jacob Riis, Dorothea Lange, Weegee, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Nicolino Sapio, Joshua Hoffine, Bresson, Sebastião Salgado, among others. I confess that the artist who most influenced me was through the photo of Kim Phuc, taken by Nick Ut, from the napalm bomb, which portrayed the atrocities of the armed conflict. The moment I saw that photo, I set out from there to never again want to portray the suffering and evils practiced by humans. That was when I started to photograph for peace and life. In music I like John Lenon, Pink Floyd and Jimmy Hendrix. I like Tomie Ohtake, James Rizzi, Botero very much in sculpture. From the perfectionism of Michelangelo, Edgar Degas and many others. In the painting Monet, Munch, Picasso, Tarsila do Amaral. Anyway… I really like the performances of the French from the group Generik Vapeur. Generally all the arts interest me. In art in general from prehistory, through movements from Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, even contemporary art, I consider all the artists with whom I had contact with their works in some very special way and the I see it as very important and motivating for us to be looking for an individual authorial language. That can have influences of various strands but is only in search of its identity. When we realize the importance of the human being for the existence of artistic expression, we honor all individualities and artistic productions. We love to try to understand the expressions of others in a unique way even when we do not seem to understand. The look at a work admits the viewer to a sense of welcome. We keep art in our memory when it touches our heart and feelings.
PZ: What are you working on now?
LT: At the moment, I am structuring myself in search of the development of a project to raise funds and start an expedition across the four continents that should culminate in a book and in several purposeful actions. As well as to be able to honor invitations received for artistic exhibitions in different countries in the coming months. It is already an old project where we intend to mobilize humanity and artists for peace. In addition, I am self-curating the documentaries and artistic records that I made in this pandemic between June and September in the Brazilian Amazon to be able to register for festivals and contests. New series and projects will appear. We usually spend much more time than we would like in post-production.
PZ: What is your next project?
LT: I had programmed an artistic residency outside of Brazil to be able to photograph the snow and create new situations on top of something I was never used to, which is a very diffuse light, snow is a very reflective material. It is interesting to discover the new. That would be the project: Adapt to the most adverse conditions. However, the pandemic came with many uncertainties.
Most likely, the focus in 2021 will be to continue the registration and activism in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest with projects of cultural registration of the original peoples and their customs, also through the support of the preservation of the environment and better relations. Basically we always have three subjects on the agenda: nature, human beings and animals. In all the places where we pass, we also act as humanitarian activists proposing solutions within the SDGs and the search for a better quality of life than human beings; But we will not fail to register the unusual and the energetic and vibrational situations of the kingdom of the stars. Of the Universe.
Concomitantly, we are always producing something. And the most laborious part is the editorial process. While we are experiencing this pandemic, we have to be careful to fly farther. But we are open to new invitations and the possibility to create differentiated projects on demand.
PZ: How does the pandemic influence your work?
LT: As soon as we heard about the pandemic due to the cancellation of the Tyrrhenian Biennial in Italy whose theme was the Future is; …… and we would participate with a work that showed the impact of this new phase of human and planetary transformation, coincidentally . Where the future is the integration and subtlety of beings. During this period, we had dozens of exhibitions and trips canceled, but we did not let ourselves be shot. We started to work actively in Brazil to clarify the seriousness of the situation to the government and community, strengthening our sense and activist stance. At first, we left artistic production in the background. In addition to the artistic work, we also carried out work as a goodwill ambassador for Globcal International in Brazil. After three months in isolation we decided to face the pandemic and start a photographic and documentary video expedition where we traveled over ten thousand kilometers to Brazil to record the pandemic in other places and the sad reality of the Amazon rainforest; Basically the main influence of the pandemic was to become aware as visual artists that we cannot let ourselves be overwhelmed regardless of external circumstances and we must continue to focus more and more on our artistic mission. Here in Brazil there is a very interesting phrase that says: With a crisis, one grows. And we believe that. We now follow a new line of proposing images and new narratives through this work for this phase of planetary regeneration. We think globally and act locally. This sense of integration is part of this whole learning process.