In late May, I was awarded the Stuart Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship for a project that I had proposed in Brazil. By early July I was on a plane, and over the following 12 days created A Conversão de São Paulo, a series that consists of 27 images arranged as triptych altarpieces. Each of the altars is based on a biblical story and features models from an Evangelic church in São Paulo.
While the work explores the Evangelic community in Brazil, it also brings in various elements of contemporary Brazilian life. The images are able–through the clothing and actions of the models as well as the objects included–to touch on a number of aspects of both the religion and contemporary culture and how those two things often clash.
One thing that this trip allowed me to do, other than create an immense amount of work for me, was it allowed me to convert completely to digital. I have now moved to a digital 4×5 camera, which is pictured in the image above. The move has allowed me an unimaginable amount of freedom when it comes to shooting. I no longer have deal with the expense of film, and while the digital conversion was quite expensive, it will pay for itself in just a few years. But seeing the imagery–even if only in sections–as I am shooting has been so wonderful. That and the fact that when I landed back in Chicago both the shooting and editing were already finished. I landed on Thursday and was printing on Friday morning.
The final aspect of the digital 4×5 is that it actually ends up being closer to 8×10 quality, something that I wasn’t expecting, but that was welcomed. My images now can be printed at 60 x 150 inches, a size that I feel both comfortable with and that is my limit. I don’t think I will ever want to make anything bigger than that.
I feel like the project was a big step for me and my method and thinking about how I work. You can see the entire project in a PDF available here. It is 60mb, but is printable if you should choose to do so. Below are some of the strongest images from the project as well as some of the full altars.