In the many trips that friends, family and I have taken through various cities and regions of the world, we've always enjoyed seeing what doesn't appear on the postcards, in the guidebooks - the real places - the everyday life - lived by the locals. We've always believed that by knowing a city just from the guidebooks and the postcards, we wouldn't really be getting to know it, but a limited package it has to offer. As a native of Porto, and for the same reason, I've always had the impression that, for many, when the locals leave home, they end up in Ribeira, or very close to it, in a similar place. And although the clichés may have some touristic utility, they can also create an image that not only isn't real, but also far from reality, and castrate, to some extent, the true scale or potential of the place in question - which, I believe, is the case of Porto - a vast and extremely diverse metropolis for those who live it for months, years, decades, or more than a century.
It was this vast and diverse metropolis that I wanted to fully register, and that led me to 15 years of great walks with the camera in hand. With the clear intention of capturing not only what is touristy but everything that seemed interesting as a city, what I found was the remarkable metropolis I was looking for. A city that to a large extent transcends the historic center and, not infrequently, manages to fascinate even more when we're far from that center.
Although Porto is, fundamentally, a European city, and above all, a city that is quite equal to itself, one can find here and there hints of Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, Miami, San Diego, among others. Although Porto is, fundamentally, a European city, and above all, a city that is quite equal to itself, one can find here and there hints of Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, Miami, San Diego, among others. On this vast piece of land in the southwest of Europe, I found what is perhaps one of the most American places in Europe - something that could be bad if such a side had erased the European side of the city - but because it didn't, it enhances it greatly.
When we leave the historic center, we find more and more the culture of the car, of the highway, of the sea, of surf, the culture of the café and the diner, the neon and the late-night convenience store, the culture of what's not typical, and that's even uncharacteristic, yet gains character because it's a culture of everyday life, or night, a culture situated between the urban and the suburban, between the big city and the small town, between the epicenter of Civilization and the distant places that orbit it, acquiring for themselves a modern peace impossible to find elsewhere but on the periphery of a supercity.
To this set of attributes - in itself liberating for the spirit - is added a lot of history, a lot of sea, a lot of beaches, a lot of culture, and activities of all kinds. This creates the notion of a city that is complete - truly complete! A characteristic that is as important - if not more - than the size - for the formation of a metropolis. In this case, a metropolis that stretches for miles by the ocean, and absorbs from it part of its aroma, much of its freshness, the fullness of its essence.
That's how it is - or has become - this city that once reached the sea, grew with it, and just like the difference between the river and the ocean, evolved into something much broader and liberating. The Historic Center is still unique in the World and very, very beautiful - it will always be, I hope! - but above all it's a beautiful place to be visited, for a few days or weeks - maybe to be lived a few months or years! - compared to a much larger city that has for some time now been delightful to live in - for decades, for centuries. Forever... Something curious, because one day Europe brought the New World to America, and the so-called American Dream was born. Somehow, there was a kind of cultural rebound, and that dream is, today, the essence of everyday life over here. The fusion of the Old World and the New World - the Total World! Porto.
To conclude on a small personal note, I would like to add that, being 15 years naturally a very long time, the process that brought this project to the physical plane accompanied many ups and downs of my life, went through universities and jobs, friendships, personal and spiritual developments, and it was during this long journey that my daughter Matilde came into this World. As a result, the sum of these photographs constitutes an adventure - one of the endless adventures in this fantastic city. And also an adventure that crossed paths with Fox Patusco's Odyssey. Always present, always a partner, always a friend, he has accompanied the totality of what was built here, and is, for that reason, the basis of the whole thing!
Thank you, Fox! :)
Bem-vindos a esta supercidade europeia - não! Supercidade mundial. O meu nome é Daniel Maiagaia, e agradeço sinceramente a vossa visita :)