Hope and Ghosts


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Over the past three years, Sebastian Palmer (1979, UK) has been living with and photographing marginalised sections of Brazilian society. In São Paulo, where 70,000 people migrate every year in search of better conditions, life can be particularly hard – though not without hope.

The included selection of images highlights two bodies of work Palmer made during this time: Hope and Ghosts. The series Hope, shown in colour diptychs, presents the inhabitants of an illegally occupied building downtown paired with items found close to or belonging to the subject. The series Ghosts, meanwhile, is comprised of black and white portraits of crack-cocaine addicts. A far cry from a plea for pity, the encounters revel in optimism, in resilience. Palmer’s images soften life’s hardness with their rich humanity.


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