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Vava Ribeiro's Deceptive Imagery

Hailing from Rio, the photographer aims to experiment with magic and science to create strangely awkward images

The Rio-born photographer Vava Ribeiro based between his hometown and New York is set to launch his new exhibition, titled 'Pseudoscience' (Pseudociência). Held at Galeria Mezanino at Mundo Mix in Sao Paulo, Brazil from August until September 14th, the solo show will be displaying mostly his early portraits between 1999-2003, all shot in New York. Working with Polaroids Type 55 and portraits of androgynous characters, Ribeiro's ambiguous images are deceptive and somewhat strange. Using both professional models and friends, he played with multiple exposures, and awkward body language, where the end product was printed with asymmetric masks and particular crops. It was all analog so that the results were unique and unrepeatable. The whole series has a certain scientific aura to it, juxtaposing words from different languages paired with the images in Latin, German, and English to create a sense of mystery and magic.

Dazed Digital: What is the underlying theme to your most recent project and what inspired it?
Vava Ribeiro:
Just before I got invited to do the show, I went back to my archives looking for my early series of portraits. I found some notes, prints and polaroids and they felt very relevant to where im at this moment. The images are very simple, the light is soft, the characters look androgynous, and the mode feels naive but dreamy and mysterious. At the time i was experimenting in all the aspects. From multiple exposures to darkroom tricks. It was all analog so some of the best results were achieved but chance and could not be reproduced. The volume of work had a voice on its own. I just had to edit.
DD: What do you most like to shoot?
Vava Ribeiro:
Magical moments... with people in.

DD: What kind of equipment do you use and why?
Vava Ribeiro:
It varies, from Polaroids to digital. Depends on the project and what I'm after, but I love medium format 6 x 9. It just feels right, the texture, the colours and the format are very close to what I see in my mind when I close my eyes.

DD: Any favourite photographers?
Vava Ribeiro:
Hell yeah... Michael Schmidt, Larry Clark, Nick Waplington, Miguel Rio Branco....

DD: What are you trying to communicate through your work?
Vava Ribeiro:
I guess something sensorial... images should be felt, not seen.

DD: What are you working on at the moment?
Vava Ribeiro:
Hydrodynamics, moving images, and juxtapositions  also a book, a film and a house)

DD: How would you describe your work in five words?
Vava Ribeiro:
Golden sunsets, rainbows and Eros.

On now until September 14th - Galeria Mezanino, Mundo Mix, Rua Augusta 2559, Sao Paulo, Brazil.