André Cypriano is a Brazilian photographer, who for three decades has been documenting traditional lifestyles and practices of lesser known societies in remote corners of the world, capturing the unique and unusual.
Cypriano works are inspired by mythological expressions. He creates visual records that take an anthropologic and historical approach, documenting societies that are susceptible to multiple risks, including the risk of being eradicated. His works showcases the megalithic culture of the people of Nias Island, Sumatra; Devil’s Caldron, the former infamous penitentiary in Rio de Janeiro, where the city’s largest criminal organization was born; the informal culture of the slums of Rio de Janeiro and Caracas; as well as the culture of resistance of the Quilombolas, the Brazilian hinterland settlements founded by people of African origin.
Over 14 years ago, with the birth of his daughter, Cypriano made the switch from analog black and white negative film to the digital color method. He describes this as a shift from the “interpretation of reality to the reflection of reality.” His color works continue to highlight hidden societies, with series such Afro-Colombians and Capoeira.
Recently, his research leans towards the study of shapes and form, light and shadow. In Rocks of Imagination, a worldwide expedition he shares with his daughter, they find recognizable characters in natural rock formation, bringing them to life through his lenses. In 2020, documenting the social unrest of the country in NYC, his latest works record the boarding up of businesses with plywood as protection from violent protests. The project goes beyond the plywood coverings, with their geometric elements, texture and tonalities. It takes on a historical and political tone, as these coverings become a public canvas for activists of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Cypriano describe his photography as “documentarismo autoral”, a photo-documentary approach where his view is influenced by any person or institution, but by his feeling and intuitions alone.