With the world-wide web established and the digital comms boom at its peak, the closure of 90′s meant a pretty drastic change to our relationship to film-based photography.
My actions with marine flares mark turning points, which began in London in 1999 and then 10 years later in Rio de Janeiro – drawing tool with which to establish connections between people and places.
In 2009 the environmental extremes of the state of Rio de Janeiro were reached in a mobile studio taking the BR 101 motorway from Rio to Paraty. Having researched the impact of the 18th C. gold rush on the what was the most densely covered are of Atlantic Forest in South East Brazil, I went to the entrance to the Estrada Real (Royal Road) which can be found in Paraty.
The cobbled XVII Century road, extending 1,200 km towards the interior city of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais State, at the time of its construction, took 95 days to travel by foot. Originally an indigenous track, this road led the Portuguese settlers accompanied by their slaves to the riches of gold, diamonds and precious minerals which were extracted and then exported to Europe via the Estrada Real.
This road begins in Paraty, and is known as the ‘Caminho Velho’ (Old Route) since later in the XVIII Century a second road from Ouro Preto and Diamantina city was developed in order to reach Rio de Janeiro more quickly and safely. This second branch of the Royal Road is known as the ‘Caminho Novo’ (New Route) and flows directly into the Guanabara Bay.
I found Sr. Bee, a historian and guide who works at the IEF (Instituto Estadual de Florestas) and INEA (Instituto Estadual do Ambiente) headquarters in Paraty. He is also one of three guards who physically polices and protects the Reserva Ecológica da Juatinga. A reserve of primary Mata Atlântica Forest that covers 9,000 hectares. Sr. Bee was the first person who ignited the flare at the entrance of the Estrada Real (Royal Road) and the information he gave me took me to my next stop, the mouth of the Guanabara Bay, at the other end of the Caminho Novo (New Route) which took the riches of the mines to the bay and to Europe via sea.
The flares brought 5 people involved in preservation of the atlantic forest biosphere together in a symbolic act around the Guanabara Bay and was documented in 1 minute film sequences
The last action was my own, which from the top of the sugar loaf was documented.
A tiny dot in the landspace.