SAUDADE e FADO
I am not Portuguese. I am an American who lived in Portugal in1968 as a Fulbright Fellow in the last year of the authoritarian dictator Antonio Oliveira Salazar’s Estado Novo (New State). While I did not see any atrocities, I heard about them through newly acquired friends and colleagues. It was a difficult time for the Portuguese people who I fell in love with and who earned my admiration for their unabashed resilience and understated bravery through very difficult times.
Times and things have changed since 1968 and I was urged to go back and see how it was now. In1968 it took me at least a month or more to understand what, how and who to photograph. This time I had to struggle with the same issues. Finally, while photographing singers (Fadistas) in a Fado club in Alfama, I discovered that they give voice and expression to the emotional state the Portuguese call Saudade.
I identify with Saudade and have had many instances of it myself. You might say my trip back to Portugal was an attempt to satisfy my own Saudade for a country I love and whose people I respect.
My documentary and book will encompass both their voices and Saudade as I see it in the Twenty-First century.
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