The portraits in this book were made by anonymous “lambe-lambe” photographers in the streets of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and were not intended to be seen by a larger audience.
Their initial function was for private clients who were in need of portraits for various administrative purposes. The opportunity to see the portraits comes from the photographers’ habit of discarding their negatives in the streets. The negatives were printed once and left in the gutter where they were recuperated by German artist Joachim Schmid over the course of ten years. For Schmid, this collection of portraits is a treasure.
The photographers worked with extremely simple equipment and they processed film and paper quickly disregarding any archival considerations. Despite or maybe even because of the seemingly artless process the images are as striking and as powerful as many portraits made by masters of the genre. As a group they form a randomly composed collective portrait of the population of a city, and they are documents of an era gone by, replaced by the clean process of digital photography that does not leave any visible trash in the street. Trilingual edition. Elegantly presented collection.