Marco Diniz, a native Brazilian, is self-taught photographer whose work explores his experiences living in the cultural centres of France, Belgium, Great Britain, the United States and Canada. Marco graduated with a diploma in Language & French Civilisation from the Sorbonne University in Paris and is an active writer, translator, French professor and cultural commentator.
His writing and translations have appeared in various Brazilian and American publications and his photographic work has featured in several exhibitions both in Brazil (Cultural Centre UFMG, Café com Letras Galery, CRAV, etc) and New York (Ward Nasse Gallery, Soho). Since 2011, Marco Diniz has lived and worked in Montreal, where he studied art history and completed a master’s degree in film studies at the University of Montreal, alongside his photographic practice.
Un regard sur l’espace de la mort
Cultural Center of the Federal University of Goiás – Goiânia/2017
Poor banished children of Eve
Café com Letras Art Gallery – Belo Horizonte/2009
Un regard sur Paris
Diamond Mall – Belo Horizonte/2009
A Grande Passagem
Solar da Baronesa – Santa Luzia/2009
The Mirror of the Soul
Ward-Nasse Gallery – Soho-New York/2004
A Grande Passagem
ArcelorMittal Foundation – Timóteo/2000
No Bonfim da Vida
CRAV – Audiovisual Reference Center and Bonfim Chapel Cemetery – Belo Horizonte/1999
A Morte Suave
Cultural Center of UFMG – Belo Horizonte/1999
Arraial da Boa Viagem de Curray del Rey
Casa do Centenário – Banco Itaú – Serraria Souza Pinto – Belo Horizonte/1997
Un regard sur Paris
Alliance Française – Belo Horizonte/1997
Photographs (collective) bilingual edition, French-English, published in Brussels (Belgium) in April 2020, by Husson Éditeur.
Photographers living or deceased, themes ranging from jazz clubs in the South of the United States, to the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, bands of Moroccan skaters to healers of Malabo, “mods” from Brighton to transvestites from Montreal. The richness thematic of the old Life magazines.
• Un regard sur l’espace de la mort
Bilingual catalogue of the homonymous exhibition – Goiânia/2017
• Yékity – Documentary film, Brazil, 24 minutes. Life, art and cultural resistance in the Jequitinhonha Valley, Minas Gerais.
Yékity, a 24-minute documentary film, is a visual poem filmed in Brazil in August 2016. The film takes us to the heart of several communities in the Jequitinhonha Valley, located in the northeast of the state of Minas Gerais. Organized around the changes brought about by the arrival of electricity in the Valley and the inclusion of autobiographical elements of the filmmaker, the film sheds light on the question of identity, memory and resilience that has deeply marked its inhabitants. In the midst of this conjugation, emerge our positions in relation to human relations and the listening postures highlighting our cinematographic practice.
A film by Marco Diniz, photography by Wagner Tibiriça and editing by Felipe Carelli, featuring artisans and artists from the Jequitinhonha Valley, Brazil.
During the 1990s, I started my photographic explorations inspired by the great photography Masters of the French Humanist tradition, Édouard Boubat (1923-1999) and Robert Doisneau (1912-1994), through whose vision I discovered the city of Paris. Following in the footsteps of these post-war photographers, my first experimentations with the medium consisted of trying to capture the unique soul of the City of Lights where I lived for eight years. The imagery in my early Parisian, and then my Brazilian, work is intimately linked to my experience of being an attentive observer of the visual and cultural particularities of the urban landscape, of its inhabitants, and of the history that is imbedded in it. During my random wanderings and encounters, I captured a multitude of fleeting, unusual, and anecdotic moments: scenes of daily life which, framed carefully and photographed on black and white film that I processed using traditional darkroom techniques, reveal a nostalgic and poetic character that I associate with the photo-chemical process itself, as the image is gradually revealed.
In recent years, my work focused on two central themes: death and femininity. I see my photographic approach as an opportunity to confront and tame two great enigmas of our existence: the “otherness” of mortality and the “otherness” of sexual identity, which, from a psychoanalytical perspective, correspond to our deepest primordial fears. Building on my frequent and intimate wanderings in cemeteries (the Père-Lachaise in Paris; Bonfim, the local cemetery of Belo Horizonte in Brazil), I tried in my series “Le grand passage” (1998-1999) to capture the troubling beauty of these transitory places, these “other spaces” or, in the words of Michel Foucault “Heterotopias,” where the living and the dead co-exist. The hundreds of photographs of tombstones, inscriptions, commemorative portraits and decorated mausoleums resulting from my explorations express an emphatic relation to these places of memory and mourning where our deepest desires, fears, and latent fantasies restlessly roam.
The tension between Eros and Thanatos that emerges from this corpus expresses itself more directly in a recent project, which explores the representation of female martyrs famous in Western history. These photographs feature studio scenes, freely staged, of historical or mythical female figures (Lilith, Joan of Arc, Anne Boleyn) whose sexual power has been stylized and amplified to highlight the threat they embody to the male identity. This series, under the sign of “Fears of the Male,” deals also with questions of transvestitism, homosexuality and oppression linked to gender, particularly through figures present in Brazilian culture (Geni) and the allusions I made to Stendhal’s “Le rouge et le noir.” Continuing my explorations of the extrinsic and intrinsic relationship of man and the “other” sex, I am now beginning to research the feminine identity as lived in Montreal, where the specter of the tragedy of the École Polytechnique Massacre still haunts people’s minds. Through photography, I endeavor to understand how much my masculine gaze, indeed that of a foreigner, can interpret of this horrible experience inscribed within the collective unconscious.
Although I have recently incorporated into my work digital photography and color, I still remain very attached to black and white photography and the traditional darkroom methods that allow me to create images directly from a negative, without the need for retouching or other manipulations. I intend to continue my research by investigating new procedures in the darkroom while experimenting with the technical variables of processing images. I want in particular to develop a reflection on the physicality of the film negative itself, as opposed to virtual imagery in the digital domain, and its manipulation until possible destruction. I intend to push my vision through new exploratory paths in order to energize and renew my creative process, and to further my reflection on the various dimensions within the practices and processes of the photographic arts.