The magic light of the waters of Valdir Cruz
Emanoel AraujoWhen the wind is wildreturn
Elastic water stretches
With the vague gesture
Of one stirring in his sleep.
Jorge de Lima, “Noturnos”.
Valdir Cruz is a restless photographic artist.
His archives safeguard many suites of his many gazes, from his many records and walks across this vast country – from the Amazon to his native Paraná. They are images upon images mysteriously stowed away in his New York studio. As if by so me stroke of magic, flicking through envelopes replete with negatives on new themes, he patiently removes from a map-library photo by photo, in an impeccable exhibition, like the images gathered here in this book to perpetuate his creation and his quest to reveal an eye filled with sensibility and poetry.
At each moment, a new facet of this keen eye represents a genuine artistic instant, in which he immerses himself body and soul in the array of themes he resolves to work on.
I would even say that in many of these suites, he explores by-roads of technique and photographic representation, looking to adjust them to the notable sensitivity of his gaze.
The images of O caminho das águas [The Way of the Waters] could be defined as a beholding of beauty, a gaze upon involvement with the nature of one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in the world. Valdir Cruz refracts the landscape into angles with extraordinary finesse, showing the power of photography to reinvent itself, imposing the strong desire of its creator. Due to this fact, amongst others, photography truly is an original artform, which reveals itself forever new and unique in the expression of each photographic artist.
The Way of the Waters reveals a touching moment between its creator and nature, between the record and the creation, between the contrasts and the subtle weave of the light where the depth unfurls a divine dimension to the landscape.
It is the quasi invention of a metaphysical and sometimes abstract landscape that impels us to enter the mysterious and fluid representation of these waters in their eternal movement, like torrential tears of nature.
The waters of Iguaçu are indeed the waters of Valdir Cruz, so well he knows them that the intimacy allows him to reinvent them with each magic click of his camera.
Valdir Cruz is still a magician of chiaroscuro, of tones and semi-tones, as if he were an engraver working upon metal with the refined aquatint technique, or an etcher, whose acid bites the deep tones of black into the plate, rendered velvety by the concentrated ink or the nuances of various scales of grey.
A perfect drama of the white, the black, and the grey, gathered up into the mystery of the graphic representation of these contrasts, accentuating still further the magic of these landscapes and their dancing waters.
One would not wish to purge photographic technique of these resources, which are in fact inherent to his own art and to the various technical vehicles for image reproduction appropriated by photographers with increasing frequency. However, in these images one sees how the sensibility of the artist confers a refined treatment somewhere between the creation and the reproduction technique.
This is Valdir Cruz’ the way of the waters – a Brazilian photographer, a creator enchanted with the nature of his homeland. He renders, through his sensibility, the very representation of beauty, of the artwork, of the universe, affirming and reaffirming how beholden we are to preserve the lives of those things closest to God.
Contemporary photography advances in large strides towards occupying planar spaces never before imagined, spaces previously the sole preserve of large-format painting. Today, photography offers itself to installation, and even to tridimensional surfaces and forms, all of which is due to the advent of digital technology, which, in turn, established a new order between the photographer and his camera.
However, one thing remains certain: these new techniques in no way deprive photography of the magic of capturing and creating the moment, of eternalizing time as do these works by Valdir Cruz, seduced by the light and the enchantment of graphic representation that was and continues to be the true origin of photography. Emanoel Araujo is a cultural promoter as well as an artist. He rebuilt and directed the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo [1992-2002], and in 2004, he founded the Afro Brasil Museum, the first Institution to focus and to study the relationship between both continents.