BY HELDER SOUSA
“(…)The idea of progress brings with it several variables that do not always fit with the specific realities of each territory. It is up to each responsible entity(ies) the management of its own territory, through the understanding of its true needs; and depending on future expectations, create a balance between what is offered and what is searched for, and not the opposite.”
Hélder Sousa is a photographer since 2008. After finishing a degree in Plastic Arts-Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Oporto, he started exploring photography as an artistic expression. In search of new knowledge, he decides to do a Master degree in Audiovisual Communication, specializing in Film and Documentary Photography at the School of Music and Performing Arts of the Polytechnic Institute of Oporto.
His final Master´s course work is Unfinished Projects, completed in 2012, which focuses on urban development in the municipality of Valongo, on the outskirts of the city of Oporto. Later in that year he participated at the first edition of Project Living in Art, a photography field of study held in Portalegre, sponsored by Robinson Foundation.
Hélder Sousa has an interesting contemporary photography work focused on our territories and how they are transformed and appropriated by man. In between document and fiction, as there is a strong aestheticization of the territory and its contradiction, in “Unfinished Projects”, a new visibility is given to the ghost neighborhoods of the Valongo County. These non places, which are not only the result of the economic and financial crisis caused by subprime, but also of the failure of a social state unable to regulate the savage and predatory capitalism of real estate speculation.
The exposure and questioning allowed by the documental side of “Unfinished Projects” are heightened by the plastic options and visual grammar displayed in the images of this series. In other words, the imagery created to reveal and explore these wrecks, these architectures of entropy – which are in fact fake ruins, because they were never inhabited, as well as metaphors for failed life expectations, for broken promises – is an artistic strategy to reinforce the documentary.
Pedro Leão e Maria Neto