Art has been my passion since I understand myself as a person, and books, my connection with the world. Books and art are the way found to express what goes on my mind through the combination of story and image. I sometimes compare the creative process of editing with directing films. Book editing and film directing embrace the same challenge of materializing fantasy. For a book to become a beautifully translated, meaningful story we need more than an interesting idea; we need many other elements put together to create something singular. For me, the most important element to make this happen are the people and the feeling they raise on you. The instinct. Connecting with people and engaging through an exciting project is what can build a real team that will make the idea become true.
In 2014, I had my first real experience as an editor (and an author as the book was my original idea). The book Tribute Arpoador (Língua Geral, 2014) – originated from a research for a branding project I was working on – became a film in mind, but I knew I needed a team to make it come to life. Arpoador is a very significant neighborhood for Rio de Janeiro’s history and I wanted to stroll between past and present, real facts and legends. The story I wanted to tell should to be arranged and directed as a poetic visual narrative. From the original idea to the final object, I wanted the book to touch people and for that, I needed to work with people that touched me.
I built a team around the proposal and found incredible people to participate in the project. I followed my instincts. One of my first choices and fundamental partner for this project was Carol Matos, a talented photographer and photography researcher that I invited to take portraits of contemporary characters from Arpoador and to conduct the iconographic research trough image archives.
Carol did a brilliant job, digging into the most incredible archives while searching for images of Arpoador: newspaper unpublished photos, family albums from the people we interviewed, libraries, private collections, etc. One of my fundamental choices for this book was to work with film photography only as I didn’t want to mix the archival photos with the digital ones. Rather than historical, I wanted the book to be timeless and poetical. I was curious about who Carol would propose as contemporary photographers who represent Arpoador today. That’s when she showed me Demian Jacob’s photography.
Demian not only impressed me by the aesthetics of his artistic work – he works for commercial projects as well, always with an artist eye – but mostly by the way his images had a deep, true and unique soul in a singular and simple way. I felt like I knew him from looking at his pictures, it had a deep impact on me. I started my communication with him after he sent the first batch of photos to Carol, but I wanted to see more of his production, I wanted to see everything. That’s when everything flew. I didn’t meet him in person at first, but I felt a kind of intimacy with his visual work like if he was reading my mind when I imagined the book. He is a boy from Ipanema, a real surfer, a character born and bred at Rio’s beach, and his eyes are about poetry. His eyes travel beyond any kind of geographical limits.
That was the first experience in collaborating with Demian Jacob and the door for endless collaborations in publishing and photography. He was also one the photographers I chose for Onde o Rio encontra o mar (Where the city meets the sea), published by Língua Geral in 2016. A photobook about the relationship between city and sea, the core of Rio de Janeiro’s lifestyle. Demian was the first artist I invited to be part of this new team work, amongst seven more and myself.
He sent me everything he had worked on that related to the theme and said “I trust you with my eyes closed, you can do whatever you want with this material, nobody edits my work the way you do.” It was a pleasant process of exchange through delightful conversations that involved much more than art, but a connection that had started in 2014. He encouraged me to publish my own photos and helped me editing them.
Since I started my dream of having my small press, Demian has been part of the process as a supportive friend and great artist. We talked for more than a year about everything related to creative process, the meaning of making a book, the importance of trust and collaboration, the desire to publish his artistic series that didn’t have any kind of commercial interference or a briefing behind. I knew that Demian was going to be the first artist I would publish by FAMILIA.
We discussed his series Devaneios (Daydreaming) for at least that period of one year. Demian and I always followed our instincts. We bond in the way we value life and how we lead our creative decisions. And we believed we didn’t need to be in a hurry, that it was important to embrace time to work on the editing and to let our relationship grow. When I took the photos in my hands he trusted my eye for editing, for color proofs. He trusted me to interpret his work. I let it flow and designed a sequence that translated exactly the connection we’ve been cultivating for a while. It was simple and easy because it came out of a very mature exchange.
The photobook is a beautiful visual diary inspired by the simple beauty of the world around. It is a window for the sensibility of this artist whose work on this series fluctuates between certain melancholy and a glimpse of joy. The empty spaces and the possibility of fulfillment. Eighty eight pages with fifty five 35mm color photos. It is the real result of a long-term collaboration between artist and editor/designer, between friends. The introduction text is by the photography collector and curator Joaquim Paiva.
We launched the book together at the photography fair Paris Photo in November of this year (2018). Our partnership overflows frontiers. We travelled together and learned together the experience of a big international art fair. It was priceless. Learning the work and having the chance to exchange ideas around such a rich and overwhelming environment. Scary and exciting. And for that and for the sake of visual poetry, we will keep working together as long as our paths keep crossing. Demian and I are thinking of a new publication for 2019 and much more around his new research… Wait and see!
PS: The books are available in several international bookstores. You can find Devaneios at specialized bookstores: Lovely House, São Paulo; Hauser and Wirth Publishers, NYC; From January 2019 at Dashwood, NYC; La Fabrica, Madrid and Ivory Press, Madrid. You can also acquire a copy directly from the artist Demian Jacob and FAMILIA editions.