The Leica Gallery Wetzlar presents the exhibition „Plethora“ by Julio Bittencourt from September 19th until November 6th, 2018.
“I appreciate the duality of photography and I like to play with its documentary and conceptual character: working with real subject matter, people, and backgrounds, while also making use of the medium’s innovative possibilities to create other realities.”
The big city and, in particular, the relationship of individuals to the complex structures of our metropolises, are at the heart of the Brazilian photographer’s current project. It is made up of a number of different chapters, introducing subjects such as living, means of transport, city spaces, and leisure entertainment. The main emphasis, however, is on the experience of proximity and uniformity within the masses, as well as the consequent feelings of loneliness and anonymity. This is also the idea behind the project’s title: in the medical sense, plethora means an over-abundance, an excessive production of body fluids; the associative meaning of the word can be seen to reflect the reality of life for people in mega-cities. Alone, literally or even among many: the individual becomes lost among the masses. The photographer used various Leica systems over the five years it took to complete the project. “There was one system that was particularly appropriate for each series: in the prison it was the small, discreet M with a 50mm lens; at the swimming pool it was the SL with its autofocus; and in the controlled setting of the Capsule Hotel or the underground, it was the S, a workhorse that delivers amazing data.” While playing with reality, the photographer is not really interested in applying a classic reportage approach; rather he uses the pictures to tell highly subjective stories. Their impact is, above all, the result of a feeling for shapes and colours, as well as a unique, conceptual precision. The individual motif is introduced as part of a complex picture series. The photographer refers to this as a lyrical approach because, “I see a photograph as a word, and a series as a poem. I like poems. There is also a complementary intention. The viewer is willing to see him or herself in the individual image, without losing the possibility of seeing the whole in an enormous image, and to reflect upon the collective and upon society – the plethora in which we all live.”
Born in Brazil, 1980, Julio Bittencourt grew up between São Paulo and New York. His main interest lies in the relationship between people and the environment in its various forms and contexts. His works have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world and been published in magazines such as Foam, GEO, Stern, TIME, Le Monde, The Wall Street Journal, C Photo, The Guardian, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, among others. Bittencourt is the author two books: Ramos and In a window of Prestes Maia 911 Building; the latter earned him the 2007 Leica Oskar Barnack Award.