“Saudade” is a photographic rediscovery of self through the act of remembering. I have been documenting my life through photography since an early age. This project is driven by an ever growing collection of images that tell the story of my life thus far. They individually represent episodic memories and collectively they speak of my autonoetic consciousness. Saudade collects all these disparate moments filled with information, color and light acting as photographs in the mind. Along with photography I also hold a deep connection to water. This liquid element has guided me through my life, always reassuring me of my journey. I have found comfort with waters’ touch and have reflected through it. I relate water in many ways to my mind and memory. Water is able to take any shape and is constantly in motion searching for its path, freezing in certain conditions, and evaporating in others. Similar to water’s fluidity, memories’ constant configurations of my past shape shifts to form who I am in the present. I began to photograph water through landscape and abstraction. I find the practice of depicting water a conversation about self-reflection.
For my time in Toronto, I look forward to the act of exploration of a new geographic location. As an observer and creator, landscape greatly affects my vision. I will be learning about Toronto’s waterways and will be observing them and simultaneously reflecting about my feelings and impressions. Again, I am drawn to water for reflection, searching for water’s memory. I photograph water in its various states to reflect the many states throughout my journey. Just like humans, water has many emotions, feelings, and will learn when confronted with new obstacles. I plan on continuing my study of the mysteries of water and using photography as my method of research. In this way, I will create a dual body of photographs, one of my experiences and one of my observations of water.
Leonardo “AVO” Vasconcelos O’Neill is a multimedia artist who primarily focuses on photography. He resides in New York City, received a BFA in Photography at Purchase College, and the Gordon Parks foundation photographers scholarship. His work focuses on perceptions of reality, and questioning the abstract rules of nature. He collages and juxtaposes different mediums in order to evoke and emphasize the inconsistencies throughout our social lives.