We were wandering the streets of Lisbon, making our way uphill to the castle that overlooks the central part of the city, when we spotted a series of photographs mounted on the walls of the houses in a neighbourhood. Each of the images had a name and a date and pictured an older person in a door, window or just walking on the street. As we walked a little further, we saw a plaque identifying these images as a tribute to the elderly who live in the neighbourhood by a photographer called Camilla Watson.
It turns out that Camilla has a website: http://www.camillawatsonphotography.net/. She was born in the UK in 1967, became a photographer at age 25, spent 8 years as a theatre photographer before moving to Brazil in 2000. She spent 7 years in Sao Paulo photographing kids in the favelas before moving to Lisbon in 2007. In Camilla’s words,
“Since moving to Lisbon in 2007 I have focused on projects collaborating with communities and exhibiting in outdoor spaces which are linked to the people I am photographing or to the local history.. To do this has meant learning to print onto different surfaces including wood and stone. I am interested in people, communities and their history. How can we keep a communities history alive? How can we hold onto their memories in rapidly changing environments? I want to bring the past into the present in a way that is visual, creative and accessible to all; especially in historic neighbourhoods and in areas in a process of change. My intention is to find the best materials to challenge the weather and the sun. Most recently this has been limestone. To print on these surfaces I work from my darkroom in Mouraria, Lisbon.”
These are wonderful, touching photographs and, due to the way they are mounted on stone, seem to be weathering very well despite their outdoor location.