• This project was contemplated as the twelfth Funarte Marc Ferrez Photography Prize 2012

    Photographers invited - Isabel Abreu


    I was in Oiapoque in 2008. Moved by an innate curiosity for places, people and cultures, I contacted the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) to accompany them – as a photographer – in a Social Mission of the Field Hospital (HCAMP).

    I departed from Belém on a sunny September morning in an Hercules that carried, in addition to doctors and personnel from the Armed Forces, floor cloths, a car, food and equipment. It was a great trip. I stayed in the same hotel as the other officers who would work on the mission.

    The photos I present here show less of the extraordinary work of those men and women of the three Forces and more of the unpretentious impressions of my coming and going by bus, by car, on foot.

    We all used to get up very early, with the city still plunged into the haze of the surrounding forest. Despite being in a city, the feeling of isolation was powerful and permanent.

    The airport itself was a surprise: beyond the runway, a small building painted in a living rose with blue letters shelters who arrives, leaves or waits; and dogs that want shade. A stairway pops up, an image that still  retains simplicity and sophistication.

    Everything there was interesting to me(,) and I was permeable to everything: the distressing heat, the flavors, the smells, the relief, the accents. I still find it extraordinary to travel more than two thousand miles and understand and make myself understood without effort.

    People impressed me. They seemed to show on their faces  and their bodies the scars of the city. From the abandonment of the city. An international border city in which the foreigner is not welcome.

    The final impression is of just wetting my feet in a very, very deep lake surrounded by water and forest. Once invited, I´ll dive.