Sergio Barra Scholarship Gallery 2015
by Leonardo Carrato
Along with the four other judges we were deeply moved by Leonardo’s compelling pictures taken at the abandoned building near the Maracanà stadium in Rio called IBGE taken over by over 400 homeless family, but also by his words.
The title of his project was: “I don’t want to be a statistic.”
I had the unique opportunity while visiting Rio in 2015 to spend some time with him at IBGE. I was simply appalled by the very precarious conditions people lived in including many children. In comparison the people at the Chocolate factory that I photographed in Salvador for many years were living in a very comfortable hotel.
Along with the other four judges: Mark Caceres, Barbara Peacock, Nilo Rebecchi and Sophie Peeters we all had no hesitation in choosing Leo’s images and his compelling text as the first winner for the BPW Scholarship for 2015.
As Barbara wrote:”The photographs were evocative, complex, dynamic and beautifully composed. There is a good understanding of light and excellent juxtaposition of subjects, details and geometrics. This photographer is also a sensitive and passionate witness to a particular project and a specific group of people.”
Having had Leonardo in Iquitos was a dream come true for both of us. We shared so much. In his comments about the workshop this is what he had to say:” The opportunity to choose among all the workshops taught by Ernesto around the globe has been indescribable. Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment after seeing the results, and being able to know all the judges’ opinions about your work. I could choose no other place but Iquitos for this one-time opportunity.
During ten intense and magical days in the Amazon we shared photography, life, boats, rains and incredible moments.”
By looking at the profound and personal pictures he has taken during the workshop we feel very proud of him to be the winner. He’s a promising young photographer and a sensitive and caring young man for unpriviliged people. He will go far… EB
® Leonardo Carrato
When I turned thirty-year-old I had a big change in my life. I decided to let everything go, and to follow my heart and immerse myself fully in photography. It was not an easy decision to make, but it had to be done in order to fill up my soul completely. So with a camera in my hand I went to photograph the social riots in Rio with the hope that I could help change something in our broken society. I was out of my comfort zone and because of that I struggled a lot to understand my role within that contest and how my photography could be placed into action both as a profession and in my life at large. I went searching for some answers and like magic I reached Ernesto through one of his former students. I remember our mutual friend saying that the only advice he could give to me about photography was to do a workshop with Ernesto. After a couple of emails and two workshops with Ernesto I was sure and confident that I could start a personal project. Covering the arbitrary housing removals during the preparation for the 2014 world cup in Brazil, I got to know an abandoned public building close to Maracanã where about 400 families were living in extreme poverty. A reality that was, at the same time, so close and yet so far away to me. I started creating a special relationship with the families and decided to begin a photo project and a film documentary to help them getting a decent place to live.
In order to do that the project had to be strong and powerful to make some changes in their lives by reaching out to both our society and the government. To guide me through this important matter no one better than Ernesto. After nearly 6 months I sent twenty images to the Bazan Workshop Scholarship and to my surprise and joy I was selected. I can say that everything about this scholarship has been very special. The opportunity to choose among all the workshops taught by Ernesto around the globe has been indescribable. Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment after seeing the result, and being able to know all the judges’ opinions about your work. I could not choose no other place but Iquitos for this one-time opportunity. During ten intense and magical days in the Amazon we shared photography, life, boats, rains and incredible moments. The result? Well, I’m still floating on a boat down the Amazon River with a strong editing on my personal project (done also with the help of all the students), I have a better portfolio of my work and the certainty that I had one of the best experiences of all my life!