Fotografia & Textos © Joao Pedro Marnoto | MediaUtopia 2017
João Pedro Marnoto
Born (1975) and raised in Porto, Portugal, having completed his photography degree in the U.K. in the late 90´s, João has developed along the years a work within the grounds of documentary photography while using it towards a means of personal exploration. Extending his tools of trade from still into moving image, his approach intents to be an intimate exercise of consciousness, with his projects reflecting on issues of identity and the human condition within an environmental and sociological perspective.
Another way of being
As the result of a series of personal circumstances more related to emotion than reason, shortly after the turn of the century, life led me to northeast Portugal, to the lands of the Douro and Trás-os-Montes, thus becoming aware of the human wealth and preciousness that still persisted. From this improbable encounter, was born an enchantment and a sense of responsibility between me and this so called wonderful world, which lasts until today, and I believe will last forever.
With little hesitation, I ended up moving there, as the bonds with the territory deepened. Gradually I turned myself into a project that I believed in, made sense to me and which gave me ground. This triggered in me a process of reflection, questioning certainties increasingly more accommodated in this flat world, and formatted in the days´s zapping. And so the city distanced more and more beyond the horizon, and myself.
Making use of a popular expression from Douro and Trás-os-Montes, "Nine Months of Winter and Three of Hell", recounts a journey amongst the people rooted in the land that sustains its hunger, and devoted in the faith that points them towards the skies. A record of a way of life that I sensed to be unique, on the brink of disappearance. Privileged for being part of their experiences, I ended up developing a relation of proximity to the point of making it my own home. As such, I felt the obligation to register that way of life, of being, in a process equally of personal search and redemption.
Taken in recent years by an accelerated pace of progress, I understood this to be a region living a delayed modernity in a particular cross-border situation: on one side, still perpetuating traces of an ancestral rural lifestyle almost gone in Western Europe, and on the other side, confronted with present signs of change, shaping and challenging the future. A territory with history and vivid memory, where close ties to nature and religion are still very obvious, so alienated from the urban comforts of the city.
The final result tries to be a visual metaphor on contemporaneity taken from a premise and perspective of the rural space: While road works and river damns gain ground over nature, Man persists on a fading and enduring coexistence with the environment, honouring a past creased by physical and spiritual effort and rigor, in contrast to a present where it seems to dominate a culture of both moral formatting and exaltation. A culture in a merciless confrontation with new social and economic realities, in a last instance, it´s a reflection on the human condition based on three vertices: the relationship with Land, Faith and Progress.
To emphasize the friendship and collaboration with the AEPGA (Association for the Study and Protection of the Donkey), which develops its activities both in the environmental and veterinary field, in particular the native race from the Miranda do Douro plateau, the Miranda Donkey, as much as the cultural aspect, in the promotion and dissemination of the rich cultural and natural heritage of northeast Portugal. I had the grateful and unparalleled fortune to be able to live and work with this group of young people, not only of age, who captivated me from the beginning by the passionate as much as the seriousness they gave themselves to their mission. Mostly urban with an academic background, the grateful experience echoed a certain spirit of community, even with its inevitable risks crossed sooner or later, and despite the obvious difficulties faced by those who want to do differently. In a time when the majority flees or has already escaped from the isolation of the countryside, as much out of necessity and the obvious difficulties of living in the village, as the ambitioning for dreams that the city always incites, this group represented an attitude in the opposite direction, of following and believing in a path that is not always the obvious one, but in the search of another way of being, within themselves, and with the environment.
João Pedro Marnoto
A sincere Thank You to all the people portrayed for the share and trust, and to the Association for the Study And Protection of the Donkey for all the collaboration
Afonso Pimentel • Agripino Augusto Gonçalves • Alexandre Meirinhos • Amândio Felício • Ana Duque Dias • Ana Ramalho • André Viegas • António Faria • António Roleira • António José Fernandes • António Martins • Bárbara Fráguas • Benjamin Martins • Bruna Moreira • Bruno Gomes • Celeste Pereira • Cláudia Costa • Dalmo Silva • Domingos dos Santos Rodrigues • Domingues Luís Esteves • Duarte Ferreira • Eduarda Freitas • Ernesto José Preto • Escola Profissional de Murça • Família Magalhães (Joana, Paulo, Dra. Leonor e Sr. Delfim) • Felisbina Gonçalo Gonçalves • Félix Inocentes Delgado Antão • Fernando Seara • Filmes da Mente • Francisco Mondragão • Frank Evers • Galandum Galundaina • Gonçalo Mota • Gonçalo Pereira • Hugo Amadeu Santos • Isabel Sá • João Pedro Machado • João Raimundo • João Brandão • Joana Braga • José Casimiro • José Jambas • José Manuel Geraldes• Jóse Maria Marcos • Lisete Vieira • Luís Carvalho • Maçanas • Mariana Falcato Simões • Mariana Vilar • Marta Azevedo • Marta Carvalhido • Marta Ren • Manuel António (Bob) • Manuel Gomes (Manu) • Manuel Joaquim dos Santos Preto • Manuel Meirinhos • Matadouro Miranda do Douro • Matt Shonfeld • Miguel Nóvoa • Miguel Schreck • Moisés Pera Esteves • Nuno Martins • Nuno Miranda • Nuno Rocha • Nuno Ricou Salgado • Ovo Mirandês • Quim da Pedra • Óscar Fernando Sandro Martins • Paula Rios • Paulo Meirinhos • Paulo Preto • Pedro Colaço do Rosário • Pedro Loureiro • Procur.arte • Rafael Faria • Raquel de Paiva • Richard Touret • Rita Melo • Rita Mondragão • Roselly Arruda • Rui Silva (Gon) • Rui Quina • Sara Riso • Sara Mora • Sérgio Augusto Pereira • Sr. Domingos de Palaçoulo • Symington • Suzana Ruano • Tiago Carvalho • Teresa Nóvoa • Tiago Pereira • Ti Adélia • Ti Ilídio • Ti Mário • Victor Santos • Victor Adam • Violeta Vilaça
Dedicated to my family
Directed, D.O.P. and Editing, Photography, Book Layout & Texts
João Pedro Marnoto
Video prologue and Editing Assistant
Sound Instalation and Sound Mixing
Hugo Amadeu Santos
Translation and Subtitles
Pedro Ramos, Pedro Pereira e Pedro Braga Falcão
Eduarda Feitas e Pedro Filipe Ramos
João Pedro Marnoto
Museu do Douro
João Tomé Duarte
Maria João Fonseca
With the support of
Direcção Regioal de Cultura do Norte | Ministério da Cultura
Comunidade Intermunicipal do Douro
In a work that had its genesis in 2006 with the creation of a documentary book for the municipality of Alijó in the Douro region, has had over the years various publications and presentations as a