Gabrielle Menezes is a filmmaker and photographer who experiments in documenting the borders between fiction and reality. Her background is very classic news journalism, and she’s worked for Reuters, Al Jazeera, and Bloomberg. The photos are part diary, part fiction, part travelogue, and were taken on her many film documentary shoots.
“I began shooting on the SX-70 about two years ago. One of the reasons I love instant photography is because you can experiment with writing on the image, like sound on film. You can tell a completely different story to the one conveyed by the image, adding depth and context. An image that is more related to our memory and dream worlds than reality. I think one of the reasons I became more interested in filmmaking is that it gives the opportunity to explore imagination, memory, and dreams. The human experience is much more than present reality, so much more than a news story. I’ve been interested in film and analog forms for a while: Super8, as well as film. I think we’ve become so accustomed to these digital, super sharp images, and the beauty of film is that it takes an audience to a slightly surreal place, where they have a different expectation of the story the image tells.
When I take out my polaroid camera, I am able to escape from the definition of a news or documentary image, and create something that is much more personal and emotional.
Kyrgyzstan 2015: The Dolmari family (Central Asian Roma) lived by the graveyard, because they were not able to buy land. At first the children were afraid to go amongst the graves, afraid of the ghosts. Until they learnt to live with them. In another lifetime the Dolmari or the Lyuli or the Central Asian Romani used to wander from one side of the Soviet Union to another. When the Soviet Union dissolved, and new countries were created in their place, families found themselves without nationality. They were stateless, and had difficulty accessing healthcare, schools and title to land. The curved moon graves remind me that everything waxes and wanes. The feelings of loneliness and homelessness will change to something else. I hope for them. I hope for me. We are able to live many lives in a single lifetime.
Uganda 2015: Always I feel at home with the white light in Africa. The refugees here came to Uganda from Congo, Rwanda, and Somalia. The things they wanted were simple. What we all want. Donatira Nyrampakumwe fled war in the Congo. ‘All I wanted was a place where we can live in peace and where our children can study safely.’ So simple, and so heartbreakingly difficult.
India 2015: In India I wake up confused with where I am. What town and what hotel? Images come at you from all over. I could click and snap the colours the light at infinitely. (Perhaps it is comforting to be limited to 8 frames of an instant film) The stories that give the images meaning are always more difficult to find. How often is it that people will tell you something true? I take a photo of two best friends, and am reminded of Chris Marker’s three children walking down the road in Iceland. “He said that for him it was the image of happiness and also that he had tried several times to link it to other images, but it never worked.” Jadda and Allipuram, best friends, looking out at me with so much hope, so much possibility.
France 2015: In France, after the party, wine glasses littered the grass like bubbles. It was the time that I preferred to the hectic, loud, gaiety of the actual party itself. Heavy with Rosé, we lay in the shade, talking until even that died down, and we listened to the lapping of the pool, and found some temporary peace.”