Dona Cadu

Portrait of an artist - the amazing Dona Cadu. A portrait of strength, of laughter, of an incredible life. Dona Cadu will be 103 this April. 103! I have stopped in to her ceramics studio many times before, but, it seems from my archive, this year was the first time I photographed her - I have no idea why. Dona Cadu is a legend around the area and an amazing soul, greeting me with love and laughter as if old friends reunited again. She gave me such an amazing hug as I left that I will cherish this moment for forever. ❤️ 

I could write a post on her ceramics and her history but I found this article from 2019 By Tarisai Ngangura that is much more than anything I could share - please click through and read :) 


One of the best parts of this trip, and the hardest, was seeing the girls and their families. It warmed my heart to know that everyone was healthy - seeing everyone again had me smiling with a silly grin of awe. They are so grown, so beautiful, smart and genuinely loving. After four years I was amazed at how much they have all grown, these were not young kids running through the fields anymore. There were new babies, new schools and new roads. That dusty, dirt road that announced our arrival long before we arrived, had been paved over. A two-lane, black strip that allowed cars and trucks to speed by without concern to who might be in the road. The road is the sidewalk, the road is the community, now the road felt dangerous… and this new road took the girl’s father in a motorcycle accident. I didn’t know much about him other than he fathered all of these wonderful kids. The only good from such sadness is the sisters, the mothers of these children, are connected again. Death tends to unite and break down old grievances and I was delighted to see the two of them together, laughing and sharing stories. The time spent with them was far too short, and ever since, I’ve regretted not staying longer or returning to spend more time. Four years is a long time… I look forward to seeing them again soon! 

São Joaquim

São Joaquim market along the shore of Salvador is the beating heart of all the goods that come and go. The freshest of fruits and vegetables, animals for life and for ceremony,  stalls for lunch, for beer, where friends gather between duties for a game of cards, where long overdue naps are taken after far too early starts. Kittens and pups wander throughout finding scraps around every corner.  Like almost any market, there is a darker underside. I met Daniella on my third visit… after spending some time with her I found out she had recently been attacked - mugged and stabbed the night before - and was pregnant. I gave her a few dollars that were quickly swapped for some drugs. I’m not sure what she was smoking, I’m a bit naive to what’s in those little pipes, but I think it was nothing more than marijuana. The world in the market is fascinating, difficult, beautiful and always a challenge to photograph. I can’t wait to return! 


lemanjá (or Yemanjá) is the deity of the river that flows into the sea. She is the daughter of Olokun, the orisha king of the oceans. She decides the fate of all those who enter the sea. She is also considered the “Brazilian Aphrodite”, the goddess of love. She is powerful, and is concerned with every aspect of womanhood, fertility and family; she is also the protector of children. 

Iemanjá is celebrated on February 2nd, this year marked 100 years of celebrating in Rio Vermelho, also the first year since Covid that the celebration was held, and it was a lot! A lot of people, a lot of sounds, a lot of everything. The carnival atmosphere made it hard to focus on small ceremonies happening all down the beach. I’ve tried to photograph this ceremony before and haven’t had much luck, perhaps these images are a little closer to show the spirit of the morning.  


enquanto ouver repressão havera resitencia / 

As long as there is repression there will be resistance.

Walking through Salvador we passed by a building covered in messages of uprising along with clothes drying on a line in many windows. That alone was interesting enough for me to photograph the exterior, it didn’t occur to me to go inside. Ernesto thought otherwise! Later that afternoon he talked with a few residents and they allowed us to come back to photograph.

“The Movimento de Luta nos Bairros, Vilas e Favelas (MLB) is a national social movement that fights for urban reform and for the human right to live in dignity. For the MLB, the struggle for housing is the main engine of the struggle for urban reform, as through it we managed to mobilize thousands of people, put pressure on governments and draw attention to the problems faced by poor people in large cities.” (From the MLB website

This building felt different from the Bonfim buildings of year’s passed - this community had an obvious structure to their goal, an organized leadership pushing the government to meet their demands for fair housing. You may see these images and think “how can they live like this” but this is far better than many are living in the city. As a community they will fight to convert this old school building into actual housing at an affordable rate. They will become owners of their space. A community in charge of their lives. Everyone was proud of the work they were doing, proud of their spaces they have created to live in, proud of their children (who loved all the attention!). In the U.S. you might call this squatting, but this is different. Do check out the link above - we could learn a thing or two from MLB!

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