These are short picture stories which describe a gesture or an action, though they are meant to mean something more than this.
Our daily routine and its quick pace too often prevent us from paying attention to what happens around us, thus letting its richness pass unnoticed.
We usually classify everything into two categories: the big things and the small things. But, if you take the chance to slow down, your daily life will spawn thousands of small stories that are representative of the world at large, as much as the big ones.
What distance is there between describing the despair in the life of an unemployed man and portraying a general strike with thousands of protesters?
Our attention, as well as the media’s, is caught by the big event, but I'm not sure this is the best way to understand the problem.
I choose to tell a “small” story for each place I visit, because I believe that the journey and the distance from one’s habits can sharpen one’s senses. Approaching a different reality can help to break old patterns and, by being cautious, allowing more time for observations.
Historias Minimas is also a homage paid to the dignity of small things. It is a kind of revenge against the clamour that sometimes fills up my life. I borrowed the title from a beautiful film by Carlos Sorin, an Argentinian film director. I hope he will forgive me.
Gold in Brasil. Tin mining in Shandong, China, or the coal mines in Yunnan. Diamonds in Sierra Leone, Congo and Angola. Sulphur excavators on Java's Island. The saltpetre of the Atacama desert. Machine-workers in Asian factories. Cane cutters in the Philippines. Sex slaves in South-Eastern Asia or Eastern Europe.
For Western people everything seems to be so far away, in terms of the geography of social injustice and exploitation. Violations of human rights seem to happen in remote areas of the world or in a time long ago. Yet, such a self-referential civilization as the Western one should be very careful. The Western countries’ paradox is clear: as ethics flourish in theory, new and efficient ways of avoiding the law are developed on the side. Here the subordination to the right to cohabitation still rules: man must subordinate himself to market and people to profit.