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Latin American Fotografia: Constance Pinheiro

By David Schonauer   Wednesday December 14, 2016


The time was January 1, 2014.

The place was the south of Brazil. Curitiba-based photographer Constance Pinheiro  was enjoying the first day of the new year, photographing people crowded onto a sunny beach.

“Suddenly I noticed a dark cloud far on the horizon. As always, I was carrying my camera with me, and I started to take pictures of it from different viewpoints and from different angles,” she says. The result was an ominous portrait of nature and man’s relationship to it. The image was later named a winner of the Latin American Fotografia 4 competition.

Pinheiro named the photograph “Grande Nave,” or “Big Ship.” It is part of a series of images focusing on the power of nature that she has titled “Mercúrio.”

One of the interesting elements of the remarkable photograph is the position and attitude of the people on the beach. The shelf cloud that Pinheiro noticed formed quickly and moved quickly before most of the people on the beach were aware of its approach.

“The shelf cloud was really fast and the phenomenon lasted just for a few minutes,” Pinheiro says. “That is why you can see in the scene that the people seemed not to notice it.” That moment of calm soon passed.

“When it came just above our heads, with plenty of winds, thunderbolts and power, it was impossible to ignore the huge ‘Big Ship,’” she says.

Here are other selections from her “Mercúrio” series.

Born in Curitiba in 1982, Pinheiro studied chemical engineering at the Federal University of Paraná. Her work has been shown at the Fundação Museu do Futuro in Curitiba, at the Galería de Arte Contemporáneo, Barcelona, Spain, and other venues.

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Dispatches from Latin America