Mico was born in São Paulo, Brasil and now lives in London, UK. He worked for ten years in the advertising industry as an art director and creative director. His first photography project documented the gathering of more than five thousand people in Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, North Dakota.The photos gathered intimate portraits of the native indigenous and activists opposing the build of an oil pipeline crossing sacred native lands and was shared in many publications around the world and illustrated in an article the words of acclaimed author and social activist, Naomi Klein. He now focuses his work trying to capture the nationalistic expression of his gigantic, diverse and mesmerising home country through photographs. He draws inspiration from photographs such as Stephen Shore, Alec Soth and Gregory Halpern that managed to distill the colours, sights and textures of Americana and hopes through research and photograph his country to develop and distill the untold aesthetic language of Brasiliana.
In the Backwoods of Velho Chico
For weeks I walked a sparsely populated area of Brazil called Sertão, the sun scorched backwoods surrounding the colossal São Francisco river, or Velho Chico, how the locals affectionately refer to it – looking for photographs The area in Alagoas state, infamous for its dry and unproductive land, religious pilgrims, and traditional ways of living is also home to an incredible amalgamation of cultures, religions, and people. It is filled with folklore and syncretism and everything you experience lies intertwined between the real and the surreal, the fictional and the non-fictional As I passed through towns, villages, settlements and deserts I bega to feel its magnetic powers alluring me. It’s in every sunset. In every person I meet. In every sun drenched cactus and mausoleum. In the warm heavy air I breath In every portrait. The Sertão seems to be from a bygone era, it exists, only because its people persists, reads a local aphorism in the back of a downtrodden truck on the road. Once you’re ther ambling back and forth within the poor communities you tend to understand that more deeply The backwoods of Velho Chico are a vast place filled with magic and mythology. It is our wild west. Some parts of it untouched by civilisation as we know it. A tropical dystopia impossible not to feel mysteriously enchanted by As I walked, and searched for pictures, I discovered a magical place, far away from the big centre and the old clichés surrounding my country. These is what I see.
To view more of Mico Toledo’s work please visit his website.