7 February 2024

The Presence of Being

Wictor Doarte reflects on the
lives of strangers


by Kate Mothes

Through towering cityscapes and along stretches of coastline, Brazilian photographer Wictor Doarte seeks moments of solitude, particularly those of men who are captured candidly alone. Doarte tries to put himself in others’ shoes, asking existential questions as old as humanity itself that attempt to unravel each person’s individual mysteries and universally complex issues: “Where is he going?” “What was he like as a child?” “What are his fears nowadays?” “Does he have a good relationship with himself?”

Always at a distance, Doarte allows the scene around each person to unfold naturally, capturing the sharp contrast of shadows as someone walks across a street or the dwarfing effect of a single figure seated at the base of a tall building. The notion of simply being in one’s own presence carries deceptively powerful connotations in our age of constant connectivity. “Typically, I look for people who are enjoying their own company, regardless of what that means,” he says.

How people move through different places highlights how, especially when one is alone, the terrain of the mind is as vast and remarkable as any physical landscape. “I see ‘place’ as something physical, but also mental,” Doarte says. “I may be here, but my mind teleports me somewhere else. In my work, I bring the physical scene into my frame and leave, between the lines, questions about the person in the photograph.”

See more of the artist’s work on Instagram.

All images © Wictor Doarte

Share your thoughts