The identity photograph of Elvio Luiz
We could define culture as the set of practices, activities, and experiences of a putative group that is also reflected in its artistic expressions. These aesthetic, poetic, and artistic patterns not only construct. an identity, but are part of affective experiences shared by members of the group.
The identity of Northeastern Brazil is defined by visual characteristics, however, it is more interesting to set aside the process of identification and rather reflect on its constitutive elements. The construction of identity is not a linear, clear-cut process, since its point of reference, culture, is a dynamic concept in constant transformation. In Elvio Luiz’s photos, we can observe this process during successive generations. We are privileged to witness the transformation of identities in Northeastern Brazil over time, through the lens of the photographer. Models are loaded with symbols, attributes, and characteristics that reflect their place of origin and lifetime.
The choices we make, from the colors we use, the objects we buy, and the place where we live, communicate to others information about who we are and how we would like to be seen. It is worth noting that, often, choices are limited by the dominant ancestral ethos and traditions. Nevertheless, cultural, economic, and social changes permit breaches in traditional identity. The artist registers transformations of identities that take place over time and thus contributes to preserving these multiple and mutable heritage.
Artistic expressions occupy this place of memory and history, and the photographer serves as the agent who chooses, with sensitivity, fragments we should observe more calmly and carefully in order to decipher the cultural processes behind these images, scenes, and identity narratives.