Tobacco, also known as nicotiana tabacum, was discoverd in 1530 and brought to the portuguese territory in 1558, coming from Brasil, in the quality of a medicinal plant capable of healing evils and torments of the body and the soul, very much prescribed by the doctors then, who noticed the sedative effect of the tobacco smoke.
The plantation of tobacco in the azorean islands began in 1820, having obtained an official authorization which allowed for the production and transformation industry to be completely autonomous from the directives given from the mainland.Thereby, between 1866 and 1923, several factories were founded. There were in total about 19, spread by Ponta Delgada (10), Angra do Heroísmo (6), and Horta (3), three of the nine islands of the archipelago.
Today, only two remain open, the Micaelense Tobacco Factory, founded in 1866, and the Estrela Tobacco Factory, founded in 1882, both located in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel island.
This work is dedicated to all the workers that i've met during this project, my family and friends. Also a special thanks to Telma and Rui for all the trust, support, friendship and dedication.
This tobacco, seen through my lens, is a lot more than a long term project developed since 2006. It is, in reality, the identity of those
who keep on persisting and believing, and working extremely hard in a culture that cosumes life in diferent ways.
I'm not a smooker and by the time i was attracted to the subject i knew that it would be dificult to show this work as a recognition and not only as the production of one of the most hated and loved products in society. That's why this work skips the industrial part and it is continualy developed.
This is one of two chapters, the color one that gives more detail and information to the observer, in order to understant the diferent stages of the growing process.
This is José Carlos Almeida’s tobacco, who is dedicated to it since he returned from the Bermuda Islands, twenty-three
years ago. And it is Manuel dos Anjos Carreiro’s , who keeps producing it, ever since he gained about seventy euros for his first portion off
tobacco, back in the day. “That was money!”, he says.
This tobacco has been watched over by José Rodrigues’ forty years of experience, and harvested and distributed with César Almeida’s and
the Carreiro brothers’ – Alexandre, Miguel and Ana – strength and commitment. It was separated by Carlos Silva and José Craveiro’s skills
and good temper, and was then weighed by José Manuel Franco, who keeps up with the pace of tobacco, since he was eleven years old. “It
is laid, it is threaded, it is dry. It doesn’t give you a break, regardless of the weather.”
This documentary work was presented to the public in an individual photo exhibition in April this year.
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