A lot of things in life, including a good photograph of a particular scene, never happen. Conditions change fast, and time does not wait. “One day I will come back home to live”, I have said to myself many times. But “home” changes and “here” changes also. In the end, will there be anything to come back to? “The pile of dead, and time corroding the dead” (Drummond, Viagem na Família).
I woke up very early to take the lead photo near my family’s house in Itaipava, Brazil, the place I call home. The mountains, within the boundaries of Serra dos Órgãos National Park, sit on the Cordilheira Atlântica, a chain of mountains that go from North to South along the Brazilian coast.
I vividly recall two things from the day I made this photograph: 1) the family dogs (two German Shepard’s) tried everything to ruin this frame, licking the camera, jumping on me; 2) Later, I sent a copy of the photo to a photography mentor I used to consult with at the time. His feedback was, I needed to drive 100 miles south to have the sun in the middle of the frame.
Itaipava is a neighborhood in the imperial city of Petrópolis, state of Rio de Janeiro. Petrópolis was the summer residence of Brazil’s Royal Family, back when the country was a monarchy, in the 19th century. My parents moved to Itaipava around the year 2000, from the big city of Rio de Janeiro, and built a large house in the mountains. My son and I used to travel there from the USA, where we live, every year, sometimes twice a year, and my son spent most of his summers there when he was in school.
My father died unexpectably four years ago, and the dogs followed him about two years later. My mother holds the fort. One hundred miles south is the town of Vassouras and the mountains would not be visible from there. And finally, visiting the house, my mother, and the extended family, has been difficult during the pandemics.