Under the theme of “Photography as you don’t know it,” the Pictures section in the Winter 2013 issue of Aperture magazine presents the work of ten photographers who have been overlooked and undervalued. The curators, historians, writers, and publishers who introduce these photographers give various reasons as to why they have been insufficiently acknowledged: geography, gender, illness, politics, debates about photographic style or representation, lack of self-promotional savvy, or simply fading from the limelight. Among these photographers is Ricardo Rangel.
“It is [his] commitment to a particular place that gives Rangel’s work its emotional depth and its political and human importance”—Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and editor of Fourthwall Books.
Photographer Ricardo Rangel (1924–2009) made images that challenged officially sanctioned photography in his home country of Mozambique, a Portuguese colony until 1975. In doing so, he suggested a new, oppositional role for the photojournalist. But he also became a target for the Portuguese secret police; many of his images were banned, destroyed, or otherwise kept out of the public domain. Despite these restrictions, Rangel went on to become the foremost documenter of Mozambican life, both before and after the country gained independence.
Experimenting with fast film, Rangel shot without flash in the clubs of his hometown, Lourenço Marques (now called Maputo), unobtrusively making photographs of its nightlife. In Sad-eyed model in this street of merry-making, 1962, Rangel captures a woman standing alone, engrossed in an introspective moment and bathed in the light of a street lamp.