In proposing a new vision of his country, far from those of Carnivals, beaches and of sexy women, the Brazilian Julio Bittencourt is a real discovery in the world of photographic reporting.
Soon, his celebrity will pass new frontiers, as it was he who won the prestigious 2007 Oskar Barnack Leica prize, during the « Rencontres d’Arles Festival».
On the evening of the 5th July, the photographer Julio Bittencourt at the age of 26 years old had the honor of presenting his series, Numa Janela do Edificio Prestes Maia 911.
These are a series of photographs shot over the last 2 years in a run down part of Sao Paolo Brazil.
FineArtTv met up with Julio Bittencourt one day after his showing at Arles.
He spoke with us about his joy in receiving the Oskar Barnack Leica prize, but also his wish to stay unchanged in the face of such a success.
For the moment he confirmed that he is preparing a big trip around Europe to enlarge his new photographic series which is still shot in color.
In Brazil he continues to work as a photographer for the press and as professional portrait artist, taking pictures of personalities, as he did with the Brazilian president Lula da Silva, and the chief of the Israeli government, Eli Opper.
His dream is to join the mythic agency Magnum and to enter into the legend of human reporting.
The originality of the work of Julio Bittencourt comes from the fact that he always photographs, men, women and children in front of a window: like some sort of last hope towards an uncertain future, as he himself likes to confirm.
The idea of, Numa Janela do Edificio Prestes Maia 911 seems simple, photographing life, and the intimacy of people living in deprived council estates isolated from the city centre.
In this series the artist has placed his camera facing the windows of their appartements and asked the occupants to continue about their normal lives ignoring the photographer. The results are surprising as the they mix reality with fiction. The everyday life of marginal Brazilian society is put in a photographic scene with the attention to detail and esthetics of the artist.
His skills in this area of photography are linked with his studies up until 2004 at the New York University of Arts and Plastics. It enlarged his horizons further than his native Brazil, a country which it is clear he still loves very deeply.
He believes that the younger generation of artists can transform the country into a new artistic centre.
When Julio Bittencourt speaks of himself, he stays modest and thinks endlessly of the Prize which he has just one, something that can change his career because he will be able to replace his exiting Canon equipment!
What does this prize represent for the world of photo-reporting ?
Since 1979 the group « Leica Camera » awards this prize in honor of Oskar Barnack (1879-1936), the inventor of the first Leica and the father of modern day photo journalism, joined with the financial prize is a selection of Leica equipment to the same value. In keeping with this tradition the prize was given this year at the Théâtre Antique of Arles.
We wish Julio Bittencourt good luck and we invite you to discover this new talent exclusively on FineArtTv.