24 February 2020

Imagery from Brazil’s Political Impasse

24 February 2020 - Written by PhMuseum

Gabriel Carpes captures a series of transient scenes across Brazil as he looks to reflect upon the country’s ongoing political crisis that has left its citizens fatigued, weary, and with waning faith in the governing institutions.

1,000 Years From Now explores the fallout of one of the largest political crises in Brazilian history. The project is based in the time following Dilma Rousseff's impeachment before the rise of Jair Bolsonaro as a credible presidential candidate. Unrest and polarisation were replaced by calm and apathy. The images explore the melancholy present in this period following the chaos of previous years. These were the in-between chapters of history and this project was an attempt to capture the pieces of the present that will echo into the future.

“I came here for a better job so I could make more money, help my family and eventually go back home. But the money is short, the Real is not as valuable as the Dollar. That wasn't the case when I first came here”. Moussa is Senegalese. He lives with five others in a three-bedroom apartment and works at an IT firm. His previous jobs in Brazil were pool-boy and selling trinkets on the street.

In another area of the city, a group gathers every Sunday to call for military intervention in order to remove corrupt politicians, stabilise the country, and hold new elections. “It wouldn’t be a dictatorship, it’s a democracy. We just want to make democracy better.” Similar lines were uttered in the 1960s before the military coup. Still, members of that movement tell me that, since they were alive during those years, they know what truly happened. “The history books are lying to you. I know it, I lived it.” Some of the members are former military.

The economic boom of the early 2000s did not fulfil the dream of turning us into a developed nation. Instead, unsustainable policies and corruption made our economic crash inevitable. Brazil is a broken promise of a country and this has taken a toll on our spirit. We are a numb and fatigued people with no faith in our institutions to solve anything.

Protests, impeachment, a new government, and all I can ask myself is: “what is the point?”. Because when all the rabble-rousing is done, after all, rallying cries were shouted, the best we can hope for is that this period will end. We are living in the in-between chapters of history, left to wonder: how will history describe these years? We won’t know for a long time, but, meanwhile, I might try to portray them and leave it to historians to define if I’m correct. I feel it’s the morning right after carnival: the beach is dirty, the skies are grey and the hangover is the only thing we’ll remember.

Words and Pictures by Gabriel Carpes.


Gabriel Carpes is a Brazilian photographer with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning. His work, which focuses on political and personal issues, has been featured in photo festivals in Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Brazil and is also a part of private collections around the world. Find him on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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