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I find it amazing how art can lead people to make totally different life choices.

This is exactly what happened to Helena Giestas, who was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where she has always experienced the hustle and bustle of the big city, working in various sectors such as health care that required technical images such as X-rays and the like., and at the same time that of events and parties. Two different and distant sectors with one bond...that of the body.

After many years between events and hospital work, she decided to leave São Paulo and its chaotic substance and move to a smaller town, Valinhos, in the State of São Paulo, where she found the courage to leave the commercial sector and dedicate herself totally to art. She becomes a mother and an artist, two totally intrinsic worlds!

Her career has a precise development: the studio phase, related to street photography, black and white with analog technique, passing through the "commercial" phase of event photography that allowed her to economically support her artistic production, until today where she is dedicated only to art.

Her artistic work is varied, ranging from photography obtained with traditional techniques to actual installations. The body and sentimental ties (understood as affective memory) between people are central themes.

Precision becomes a tool to intervene on the photo, giving them, through cutting with a scalpel, three-dimensionality. Thus are born the series quando não vejo mais | when I see no longer" and r e s p i r o NY where the process becomes the center of the project, the cut, the fold, the back of the sheet, transforming the small silhouettes of ordinary people, captured by Helena in a moment of daily life, into protagonists of the art and the place where the latter is exhibited. 

Also important at this stage was the relationship with the paper itself where the photographs were printed; it was not only a matter of image, but also of touch, of light and shadow, of two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality.


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Chatting with Helena and remembering the interviews I already did for #brazilianart, I noticed that the word and the book are very much used mediums by Brazilian artists, and Helena is no different.

After the pandemic, she began to explore the world of the artist's book, a reality not unfamiliar to her, since even when she was photographing the various events, she was making the photo albums herself manually. The book, however, takes on a different role at this stage; it becomes a medium for art, so much so that it led her to design binding courses, making it so that people themselves could create her memory albums, almost like "an art therapy."

Helena also brings three-dimensionality, organicity and nature to books, which become popup books, where images almost magically come out of the book and look at us.

Divided between the organic and photographic, what gathers from all of Helena's works is the message related to the personal narrative of each of us. Every person, every patiently cropped silhouette is history, is life and is therefore memory.

Photography is memory, it is moment and moment, it is today and only today that remains imprinted in a piece of paper that speaks and tells about each of us. 

Thanks to Helena's meticulous work we can preserve this memory, we can give it a voice and we can relive it today and tomorrow. 

To learn more about Helena's work, you can visit her website


Thank you very much to Helena for telling us a little bit about herself and thank you to Tomas for the support as every time 

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