What do I see here? And you?

pfd6128Behind Bars, from Pilgrims, chapter one: Walking to Fatima

On the 13th of May 2015, 210000 pilgrims completed their epic journey and flooded Fatima’s Sanctuary willing to pay Nossa Senhora de Fatima a tribute, acknowledging the fact that, one way or the other, she took good care of them, protected them, saved them or saved their loved ones from becoming sick, from poverty or from something else – a miracle, so to speak. This family was expecting the procession to start; given the rise of racism against black people in the United States in recent years, I was struck by the fact that if you’re born black the likelihood of getting behind bars is much higher than if you’re white, unless you’re black and rich; if you are, you may be able to stick your hands out of misery, staying on the “white” side of life. When you are black I wonder what comes first, the colour of your skin or the size of your pocket – which type of racism really takes place… This family personifies the relationship black people has been enforced to have have with prison: their hands gently touch the bars, there seems to be a close relationship with the object, some sort of intimacy; the vagueness in the eyes of the patriarch glazing away like if there was nothing to say about their condition, confirming he is well away from where he is sitting and his wrists, where a pair of handcuffs could be preventing movement from his hands, are instead richly adorned by a pair of gold bracelets, the only part of his body actually out of “prison”.

I hope Nossa Senhora may give a helping hand to all the penniless or middle-class black citizens that end up in the line of fire of the american police – and help them to get rich and away from discrimination.


Publicado por John Gallo

I am a social documentary photographer, videographer and writer. I believe we need to focus on people, on human beings; we need to humanize the planet, to change our relationship with Nature and assure next generations a much brighter future. Winner of the 2015 The Guardian/Royal Photographic Society's Joan Wakelin Award. Sou fotógrafo sócio-documental, ensaísta e escritor. Acredito que o nosso foco têm que ser as pessoas; urge humanizar o planeta, alterar a relação que temos tido com a Natureza e garantir que não hipotecamos o futuro dos nossos filhos. Em 2015 o jornal The Guardian (UK) e a Royal Photographic Society distinguiram o meu trabalho atribuindo-me o Joan Wakelin Award.

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