5. Vila Nova de Gaia: Saudade Photography Exhibition
Neal Slavin has directed William H. Macy, Laura Dern, Meat Loaf and David Paymer in cinema; photographed celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Barbra Streisand and Phil Collins; has exhibited in spaces such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Georges Pompidou Centre. Neal Slavin is a big name in photography and cinema and will be present at WOW, Vila Nova de Gaia’s Cultural District, for an exhibition which will display 50 unpublished colour photographs of his work and his documentary feature film about the people of Portugal.
The photographer’s exhibition will feature 100 photographs that stem from his passion for Portugal, reflected in the book he published in 1971, “Portugal”, and in a documentary feature film, in collaboration of illustrious Portuguese figures, namely Carlos do Carmo, Mariza and Nuno Gama. The film, called “Saudade: A love letter to Portugal”, was completed in Lisbon, now in March.
Adrian Bridge, CEO of WOW, reflects that “The current context of Eastern Europe has put much of our days in perspective, especially for those who have never experienced war or oppression. This exhibition makes us reflect on a freedom that was conquered in Portugal. We want with it, once again, to open doors to art and culture, bringing to Portugal and to Greater Porto exhibitions of international importance, which attract not only the tourists who visit us, but also, and above all, the local community”.
In 1968, as part of a Fulbright grant, Neal Slavin came to Portugal to photograph archaeological ruins. He soon realised that what he liked photographing were the people of Portugal, their spirit and their soul, whom at the time were living under the Estado Novo (New State) regime of António de Oliveira Salazar. Taking photos in 1968 was a challenge due to a law that prohibited the taking of photos on public transport, such as trains or buses, or portraying the Portuguese in anything other than a happy – whether singing litanies and sowing the fields.