Vienna, the 29th of June, 2016

WP_20160629_20_34_37_Raw__highres-EditDear Martin, here is your print.

Such a long time went by since you first told me that you would like to have this image hanging on your wall! Let’s think of this wait to be similar to that demanded by nature to mature good cheese, or to fill a bottle of wine. Well… Not quite. We had to wait longer for this than certain mammals do to deliver baby elephants! In addition to it, the great amount of time demanded in this case does not necessarily mean proportional excellence. Anyways, I am happy that we finally have it!

What you now behold is the vertex from a collection of aspects of me and a collection of aspects of Asunción. This print is where me and the capital of Paraguay meet. Not only in the past, but also in the present, so have my „terroir“:

It was my first assignment abroad. I was sent to Asunción by an already extinct magazine called Continuum, edited by the still existing Itaú Cultural institute. There, I met the journalist – and a stranger so far -, Augusto Paim, a collaborator with the institute who was sent from south of Brasil. Augusto now lives in Berlin and sometimes we talk about a get together. We were in Paraguay to outline a panorama of its capital’s cultural scene.

We took the bus portrayed in the photograph on the 23rd of February of 2011. In 8 days I would step for the first time in European soil. We had arrived two days earlier and we would leave the next day. Because Augusto had a series of scheduled interviews and, besides picturing the people interviewed, I was also supposed to take contextual photographs of around the city, I remember having walked quite a lot. It was very warm and the rain would strike us anytime without warning.

I cannot recall where the bus was taking us since I was not very much of a storyteller back then.

Nowadays, when I open Lightroom to have a look at the frames I collected during those times, I look at the photographs and am sorry to acknowledge that, the initial briefing being loose and abstract, and due to my lack of expertise, I miserably failed to render an effective narrative out of it. Not only did I miss some of the key components to tell the story, I actually did not, back then, have any story whatsoever to tell! During my time there, I was merely seduced by colors, textures and shapes and more interested in independent images than in binding them all together as pieces of a bigger landscape.

Roughly speaking, a print is the final step of a process where photons, that are filtered by a photographer’s life history, after being registered by a device, the camera – which itself, its circuits and pieces of polished glass, holds a big deal of the story of mankind -, are finally translated to a more comprehensive media than 0’s or 1’s, to a less ambivalent support than uncalibrated LCD monitors. One’s imagination can even extend this process to way before our existence and after the disintegration of the copy through time, but let’s not go there today.

This print was a learning process for me. I had never printed seriously before. Never before had I done any research on paper, printers or ideal resolution numbers. I also had the opportunity to apply some of the knowledge I already had about some not very popular aspects of photography, like color space, and master them by finally putting them to use.

There are ways to add value to photography that range from how interesting and unique the subject looks like to the more relevant „how expensive is the paper you are using to print it“ kind of variable, but nothing beats the method used by photographers and galleries to mimic artistic irreproducibility in such an easily reproducible media that is photography, where value is added to these assets limiting the number of prints that will come out of each digital file. The little the number of copies, the more digits each reproduction – so gallery owners hope -, will be worth.

I could have assigned a number out of an arbitrarily limited series to your copy. That would keep the realm of possibilities of bargaining other potential copies opened for me, but, if in the one hand imposing a limit helps businessmen to justify how much they assume that each reproduction of a particular file should be worth, the fact here is that there will be, no doubt, only one first print of mine ever, and this is it. I signed your print and wrote the series number, out of the total number of copies in the series 1/1, because that is it. There will never be a second first time for this. I wish I had the money to use the most valuable paper of them all, unfortunately, my limited buying power is also part of this story.

It took us 1943 days – depending on the point of view, add another ca. 12 billion years to these -, for this photograph to be finally printed. The story of Caio meeting Asunción, Augusto, the bus, the driver, Martina, the printer, and Martin, and everything else. The most spectacular collaboration work of all times.

Thank you for this. For helping me to finish this photograph.

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