Zé BArretta

Zé Barretta is a photographer based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with experience in daily photojournalism and portraiture since 2008. He develops personal works that participated in prizes and collective exhibitions, highlighting the Porto Seguro 2010 Photo Prize, Visura Photo Grant 2016, AI-AP Latin America Fotografia 5 and Centro de Estudios Brasileños of Salamanca University, Spain. Zé attended the Escola Panamericana de Arte, with a specialization in photography and is currently a graduate student in geography at University of Sao Paulo.


The fascination and mystery exercised by rock paintings led me to travel through some places in the northeastern backlands of Brazil in search of such records. This route, rich in its own nature and austere landscape, arid and imposing mountain ranges, permeated the search for images, dialoguing with this mystical and ancestral universe of archaeological sites.

The title refers to a chemical formula that means iron oxide. This is the basis of the very common minerals in the semi-arid region that give the soil a reddish hue. It is precisely with these minerals that the paints were produced, the ancestral pigment.

I seek the confrontation between discordant images, the free narrative, the play of meanings leading to a reflection on the primitive image through the modern technical image, the photography. Within this context, the question "what is an image?" Takes on new contours. Image as appropriation, magic, enchantment.

—Zé Barretta