:: Stories we share ::

On the past few months I’ve been visiting people in their homes in order to collect stories and images for a new photographic project. They and I share something in common, so I like to think of this project as a self-portrait. I’m immensely grateful for having these people opening their homes & hearts to me.

Details to come soon.

:: A stitch in time ::

I find it very intriguing to imagine how an ordinary life looked 100 years ago. I know it’s a totally romantic point of view, but I love how cute and cozy this house looks! What about the sewing machine by the window? It reminds me the one my mum inherited from her mother.

I love the idea of sewing. I say “idea” because all my attempts have ended up in frustration. My grandmother was a fantastic dressmaker and as a child I used to spend many hours by her side while she effortlessly made a new outfit for someone in the family or for one of her clients. It was just so awesome to observe the magic happening in real time. She worked on her sewing machines until she was very old and I still own a couple of pieces she made for me (a pair of pyjamas, a fancy blouse, a couple of shirts). Although I missed the chance to properly learn from her, I still carry the impressions she left on me…which is why my eyes shine whenever I see an antique sewing machine.

"The owls are not what they seem"

I’ve recently photographed a private collection of owls. The photos will be mounted on a poster or a mini-book - still to be decided. Here are some of the funniest ones.

:: Balloon ::

Hot Air Balloons were invented more than 200 years ago, and they still work based on the same principles: all that’s needed is hot air in order to inflate the balloon and wind blowing softly to make it travel from one point to another. The pilot only controls the altitude - the direction is totally up to the breeze.

I had the opportunity to get a ride on a hot air balloon a couple of weeks ago. It’s so quiet and calm up there, and the balloon travels so smoothly. Despite a temperature of 15 degrees below zero and a rather bumpy landing, it was a fun, wonderful and unforgettable experience.

:: A glimpse of a new project ::

I have recently started a new portrait project. It’s too early to say a lot about it yet, but I can’t wait to start publishing the results. It’s been wonderful going into people’s homes over the last couple of weeks, discovering their treasures and chatting about life.

I feel very honoured to have the doors of such cool homes opened for me, and I’m really grateful to have met so many interesting people so far. 

These photos were taken on one of these visits to gather material for the project. This pair of socks is over 100 years old, and belongs to a Bosnian guy. The socks were knitted by his great-grandmother.

:: A Day with my Grandpa ::

This is my beloved grandpa. He is 92 years old. This photo essay is part of a work I’m doing about his life.

http://www.silmaraalbi.com.br/work/grandpa_vo_geraldo.asp

:: Home-made yogurt ::

There is something extremely satisfying about making your own food from scratch (except for the mess in the kitchen, of course). For me, it’s rewarding be able to make at home something that I usually buy at the supermarket. Some recipes are surprisingly easy once you actually take a look at them. The experiment of this week was yogurt - Greek style. Rich & thick. With a little bit of maple syrup and fresh strawberry jam on the top, it was just perfect.

The secret for Greek style is to let the yogurt drain on cheese cloth or paper towel overnight  - I used a coffee filter over a spaghetti strainer, but next time I’ll try the cheese cloth to compare results. You will see the liquid whey drip as the yogurt gains consistency. Apparently whey is very good for you, but I’m still not sure what to do with it.

:: The coolest cinema ::

The coolest cinema I’ve ever been to was the Kennedy School Theatre in Portland. It’s located in the Kennedy School Hotel, which was once an elementary school. The 1915 building still holds the atmosphere and items of a school, but was adapted in 1997 by the McMenamins brothers to become a hotel / pub / restaurant / brewery / cinema. The hotel was easily one of the most interesting places I’ve ever stayed. 

The Kennedy School Theatre auditorium features real sofas of different colours & types, little side tables where you can rest your brewed-onsite beer & fresh pizza, while the lobby features movie posters drawn on a chalkboard by a local artist. The cinema itself features first and second-run movies, projected in crisp DCP (Digital Cinema Package). In fact, the movie Curtis & I watched was not something we would have chosen otherwise, but because we wanted so badly to experience the place (and we had free tickets as hotel guests), we put up with that evening’s offering. Not a daunting task, though, since we had incredibly delicious, fresh Portland beer & pizza in our hands.

:: At Stanley Park ::

This image was made as an experiment: I was attempting a stitching technique where you take several photos and mount them together with photoshop to create a much bigger and wider image. Technically it worked almost perfectly. I’m happy with the result. However, taking the photo itself was only the beginning of a lovely afternoon under the majestic trees of the Stanley Park.

:: New Year’s Day on the Canadian west coast ::

I’ve never really enjoyed new year’s until I moved to Canada. For me, going out on December 31st had always felt like a social obligation. If you were not really having an awesome time at a party
, you might be extremely bored, lonely or depressed.

In Brazil, where I come from, January is a month of hot summer and school vacation, when people travel to the beach and enjoy being outdoors. It’s a very expansive time. In Canada, it’s winter - it snows, it rains, it’s dark and people stay indoors. It’s an introspective time. It provides the perfect atmosphere to spend New Year’s doing nothing in particular, but still enjoying the quiet moments.


I see the change of the calendar as an opportunity to reflect back on the old year and gather energy for the new one. I spent this New Year’s Eve happily quiet, writing my dreams on a piece of paper and praying for the blessings of the universe.