Walter Firmo, born in 1937, is one of Brazil’s greatest photographers. His works include famous portraits of Afro-Brazilian musicians, such as Pixinguinha and Cartola, as well as beautiful photographs of popular festivals like Bumba-Meu-Boi and Maracatu Rural. Today his works are part of the collections of the Museu Afro Brasil, the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, and the Pirelli/Masp photography collection, the Instituto Moreira Salles, as well as other institutions.
C&AL: As a photographer, you inhabit the streets. How are you getting through this period of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic?
Walter Firmo: I’ve been feeling unprotected, like I need a hug. I’m an only child and right now I wish I had lots of siblings. I miss my freedom, it feels like my wings have been clipped. I love music, so every day I listen to Mozart and Pixinguinha, and others. I watch television, I nap in the afternoons, sometimes I read. Today I communicate with the world from the window of my apartment, in Rio de Janeiro. I also spend a lot of time on the computer. That’s because the lockdown has allowed me to finally devote myself fully to the memoir I intend to publish next year. They’re personal essays, about 300 pages where I tell my stories, including some about my photography career. I really like writing!