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Leica Fotografie International 

Book review - "Fluvial" published by Dewi Lewis has been featured as book of the month on LFI - Leica Fotografie International.

The human body seems to slow down when immersed in water, it relaxes, and the fluids that make up the largest portion of a human being find perfect equivalence in the flowing waters of a river or a lake. Fluvial thoroughly celebrates this pleasurable state, and the renewed discovery of the element of water. The motifs were captured between 2011 and 2018, in the northern and central, interior regions of Portugal, which are home to numerous rivers and water landscapes. Tito Mouraz is well acquainted with these landscapes and their small villages; and this knowledge allows him to transform these summer scenarios into a very personal narrative.

He observes families with children, swimming and enjoying the cooling atmosphere around water. At a first glance the scenes are not particularly unusual. In fact, the people with their colourful towels seem to the a very natural part of the landscape; yet, at the same time, these people, who include many migrant workers who have returned from northern European countries to spend the summer with their families, are transformed into small sculptures: by using a flash, the photographer draws the people out of the setting; the water appears very black, while the colours of nature, the clothing and accessories of those portrayed, shine all the more intensely.

Furthermore, the photographer captures not only Portugal's people and animals, as well as trees and plants, but also the geological composition of the landscape. Over millennia, water has transformed the granite into smooth, shimmering, rock formations. The treasured, brief period of summer leisure is presented in a distinct relationship to the geological passage of time; because, despite the fun and pleasure, the photo book also speaks of changes to come: the rivers, whose waters are fed by melting snows, are shrinking. The winters in Portugal have also become warmer in recent years, and the summers hotter. If the rains fail, the rivers will dry out, and the landscape will change. During the drought that happened two years ago, many water courses were reduced to muddy trickles. Consequently, Mouraz's photo book can also be seen as a melancholic swan song, based on a visual ode to the comfort of summertime and the deceleration of life. 

Ulrich Rüter

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