Mozambican Photographer Mario Macilau on Documenting the Lives of Society’s Most Vulnerable
Having started photography using an analogue camera, Mozambican photographer Mario Macilau says it was always the process that fascinated him the most. The sound the camera makes when you shoot and the process of developing the photographs in a dark room. That was part of the ritual of being a photographer when he first started. Although he has since moved on to digital photography, he still works primarily in black and white.The Maputo-based photographer, who recently showcased his work at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, says that in order for him to keep working in his preferred medium he focusses on long-term investigative projects. He says that the value of photographs is depreciating, especially in terms of their value in magazines or newspapers as most of them are becoming digital. One such project led to a nomination for the 2016 Greenpeace Photo Award which dealt with the global issue of e-waste. Taken at the Hulene landfill about 7km from Maputo, the place attracts thousands of people who live around it and make a living off recycling the waste. The recyclers use burning tyres to separate metal from circuit boards which they can resell. Macilau spent several months documenting the daily lives of the workers bringing into focus the impact of our insatiable appetite for new electronic goods like cellphones and televisions.