12 – by Chico Castro

When I met Chico Castro, our quick chat to define our photoshoot became a delightful 2-hour long talk. Chico has a great body of work and a personality that makes us want to talk for days. In the end, we resolved our shoot quickly, as he knew exactly what he wanted for our photos: dramatic scenes inspired by Caravaggio and other Renaissance artists. This became then my first opportunity to invite other models for a collective shoot.

Rods is my husband and has been a partner in crime from the very beginning of the project. Rony is a wonderful photographer who was visiting São Paulo and stayed at my place for a week. Andre Labate is a friend who was also exploring nudity as a model and, just as Rony, was eager to partake after my invitation. In the set, the limited frame we had to work with quickly forced our intimacy and the four bodies readily began to occupy a single space.

Chico Castro seemed to know exactly the result he wanted to achieve. For the first part of the shoot, called simply “Us”, we conveyed tension. For the second part, we opted for viciousness, and it was called “Flesh”. But the strength and rawness of the resulting images contrast with the relaxed state in which we found ourselves throughout the whole photoshoot. We made a live behind-the-cameras broadcast on Periscope which was watched by more than 16 thousand people.

“I can’t tell when exactly my passion for nude photography began. What comes to mind is a project I made for a photography course back in 2013, which I called Tree of Life. The objective was to photograph members of my own family, and it was in truth an excuse for an approximation. This recall of our familial intimacy flowed so well that before I realized my aunts (some of whom were over 60 years old) were posing to me semi-nude.  From then on I started asking my subjects to show them selves beyond clothing, entering an unknown but familiar place, warm and welcoming. I remember asking a colleague, who was also a veteran policeman, to pose for me with the naked torso, and he agreed, to my surprise[…]

[…] Nowadays, on my personal projects, when I see a dressed model I regard the clothes as dull obstacles hindering the sight of a greening landscape. My photoshoots seldom start from a research with precise objectives. They posses only beginning and middle. Maybe they come from an accumulation of what I’ve lived, things I’d like to try and things I have in me but can’t express in words. When I look at my photos, I recall the shooting process, what I experienced and learned by making them, and the moments that will be recorded in my memory and in the memory of those photographed. As for the observers, I let them decide where to go when they look at my images, knowing there’s only two paths: Love or Pain.”

— Chico Castro