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“Luz Brilhante da Bahia” can be translated from Portuguese as “Bright light of Bahia.” All of the images were created with a pinhole camera from February to July of 2008 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
As I walked through the streets and visited the homes of this tropical city on the northeastern coast, I pulled out my cardboard camera when I found a striking combination of color, texture, line or light.
The camera has no metering system. To be sure I made a good exposure, I had to make several long exposures of each shot, varying from 1 to 25 seconds. In contrast to the speed of digital photography, this forced me to slow down the process and spend more time with each moment.
I used a technique, called “cross-processing”, in which positive film is processed as negative film. This produces intense color saturation and, in some instances, complete shifts of color. You never really know for certain how the film will react and how the images will turn out. True color reproduction was not my concern. I was looking forward to those surprises, and I wanted to produce bold, vivid images that reflected the intensity of this city.
I've arranged these 41 images into suites- emphasizing the visual lyricism that inspired me to create them. Together in this ordered form they create an abstract narrative and represent the symmetry and tranquility I found in this vibrant urban landscape.
Justine Beth Gartner
Born in Minnesota and raised in both quiet/rural and diverse/urban settings. Trained as a visual artist in Florida, the south of France and New York City. Deeply impressed upon by travel and work in Europe, India, Japan, Venezuela, and Brazil. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York.