Now, here’s a situation for you: you’re happy to browse the photojournalism exhibition of the work of José Cabral. Until the photos on next slide, dated 1998 and 1994 respectively. Pre-smart phones then. Pretty much pre-Google. Pre-Facebook and definitely pre-Instagram.
You’re a woman, so you think: #voyeurism , #fetishism (hello, mask), but also, #banality (I’m just passing time next to the window, topless). Is this ok? There are more. I feel compelled to cover the nipples. Should I cover the face on the other one, too?
In a text from the catalogue, titled “Emotional Documentary”, penned by Alexandre Pomar, it is diplomatically stated: “(...) But in the 2002 anthology [about Ricardo Rangel, a distinguished photojournalist], book and itinerant exhibition, José Cabral established a clear difference with his female nudes devoid of any ethnographic pretext. He established a subtle - and in several respects defiant - bridge with the women of Araújo Street [prostitutes working the bars in downtown Maputo] photographed by Rangel in the 60s/70’s”.
In Rangel’s photos, the women are clothed, in a commercial establishment, smoking, drinking, dancing. Working, for all intents and purposes. In Cabral’s photos, they are naked, in domestic settings. Are they also working? Or are they not working girls, just regular girls like you and me, but accepted to have their nudity captured for life, and have it exhibited in a gallery. They look reluctant, though. Did they know of the longevity of their exposure?
#frazzled #femalebodypolitics #exposure #privacy #photojournalism #oknotok #mozambicanphotographer #josecabral