Tag Archives: Tito Mouraz

Featured photographer – Tito Mouraz

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Fluvial — transforming personal geography into a fictional world of shapes and forms

Project Statement — Fluvial is a meditation of the beaches and villages of interior northern and central Portugal. Photographed between 2011 and 2017, these fluvial scenes transmute personal geography into a fictional atmosphere. Testifying to the author’s lifelong relationship with northern and central Portuguese riverside beaches and villages, they act not in the manner of a topographic survey, but rather by equating erosion with vision. Just as the river currents have shaped the natural elements, time’s passage appears to have depurated irony off his gaze, predisposing it to form and analogy, and to kindness towards his equals.

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Capturing families at informal moments of Portuguese society, predominantly emigrant workers home for summer from northern European countries, bodies, tree trunks and riverbed rocks resemble small sculptures (some of which are anthropomorphic); the human body, here almost amphibious, is often reduced to a simple form, to the submerged surface, either adopting the stream bed as an optical instrument, or by shaping it with light.

The human and non-human bodies emerge from chiaroscuro schemes, either as elements of an illusory mise-en-scène, or defamiliarized, reduced to mere form, as if by casting a spell on them.

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Realistic yet dreamlike, conveying a pagan sense of nature, creating the atmospheric effect of an infinite Sunday, it reminds one of a summer dream — a visual ode to human leisure.

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For more information, or to see more work from Mouraz’s project Fluvial, visit his website at http://www.titomouraz.com/en/works/Fluvial/

Also, check out our 2016 published feature on Mouraz’s work, Casa das Sete Senhoras / The House of the Seven Women 

Casa das Sete Senhoras / The House of the Seven Women – by Tito Mouraz

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“It is still said around here that the house is haunted.

At the house there lived seven women, all maiden sisters.

One of them was a witch.

On full moon nights, the ladies in their white garments would fly from the balcony to the leafy branches of the chestnut across the street. From there they would seduce men who passed by.

In the House of the Seven Women, chatting, getting to know what it was like before me, listening and imagining, was as important as the act of photographing.

I started by doing some portraits of people. They interested me because they have always lived here and are attached to land just like trees. They speak about time, about their memories; their losses … many of them already dress in black.

This series gives an account of a persistent return to the same place, so as to scrutinize its differences (the slow deactivation of agricultural practices, the gradual transformation of the territory, aging…), in spite of listening to the same owl, to the same fox, to the same stories.

Same as in legend, perhaps the magic and appalling features, this cyclical experience, were my greatest wound: night, fumes, corpses, moon, ruin, sounds.

A place of affections, after all I was also born here.”

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In the Beira-Alta region of Portugal, where Tito Mouraz was born and brought up, there is a house that is said to be haunted by the ghosts of seven women, all maiden sisters. One of them was a witch. On nights of the full moon, the women, in their white gowns, would fly from their balcony over to the leafy branches of the chestnut across the street. From there they would seduce men who passed by.

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One cannot help but imagine these women with their siren songs, their efforts to lure men toward the house, all in an effort to do what? Do them harm? Enchant them? Seduce them? Regardless, Mouraz’s surreal, dreamlike images take us to a world of mystery and visual metaphors for the world that surrounded him in his youth, and are re-explored in his repeated trips to photograph the same area and people.

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Mouraz explores the myth of this place through raw, moody black and white images that capture the sense of the night, the fumes, the moon, the sounds of the trees. It is an environment where the past resonates deeply and within which the people portrayed seem attached, like trees, to the land in which they they live. Beira-Alta shaped Mouraz as a child and through his persistent return he searches out the slow changes of time through the gradual aging and transformation of a landscape.

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Tito Mouraz is a gallery represented photographer in Portugal and France. He has exhibited internationally in Europe and has work in a number of public and private collections. To view more work by Tito Mouraz, visit his website at http://titomouraz.com/

His published book of The House of the Seven Women was released in 2016, and was selected as a top photo book of 2016 by The Guardian, 1000 Words Photography, Colin Pantall and Sean O’Hagan. You can find his book available for purchase from dewi lewis publishing at https://www.dewilewis.com/collections/new-titles/products/the-house-of-the-seven-women