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Ana Carvalho


As a photographer, I am used to wandering the city, taking photos of everything that appears before my eyes. I am mostly attracted to details, shapes, lines and the random compositions they make.

Then, at home, as the confinement restrained my movements and prevented me from going out, I began to see previously familiar images suddenly take on a new light: shadows on the wall, reflections on framed pictures, corners that I hadn’t noticed before.

As time passed by, I became accustomed to these new discoveries and longed for something different. So, I decided to explore some of the existing digital possibilities, for instance, by deforming objects, taking only parts of them, cutting reality into pieces and mixing them in a particular and unusual way, alienating the objects from reality while keeping their essence.

Time was a key element. The same routine day after day and the feeling that there was no perspective, no way out, as if the space was shrinking and I was walking in circles. This is why I chose the clock as a main symbol, not only for the time that goes by, but, more so, for the time that passes so slowly it seems to freeze. Other symbols are closed doors, their repetition, the light shining through the windows.

The inside acquired a stronger meaning than the outside, where nature was following the seasons’ cadence, indifferent, happy, almost euphoric.

Through collage, I could dissect reality, fly from it, suggest a claustrophobic sensation by combining chaotic shapes. A disorientation that tricks the mind by creating not one single space, but a place where we can lose ourselves. The eternal, internal conflict between hope and despair.

However, ultimately, I found myself greatly inspired by the unexpected and unfortunate situation in which we were all trapped.

This text was originally written in English, and then translated into Portuguese by the author. Gabriela Ruivo Trindade revised and edited the English version, which was ultimately edited by Andrew McDougall.


Ana Carvalho is a literary translator and lives in Amsterdam. She's the author of our profile picture. She has an MA in German and English Literature (Leipzig) and a Portuguese Lectureship from Humboldt-Universität in Berlim. She worked as a translator for the European Union. As a photographer, she contributed to a number of magazines and several solo and collective exhibitions. Together with her husband, Harrie Lemmens, she created Zuca-Magazine, a publication featuring literature and photography, where she is responsible for the graphic design of both digital and paper editions. She contributed to two thematic issues published by a Dutch publishing house: one dedicated to poetry, the other to the poet Fernando Pessoa.

Andy McDougall was born in Glasgow and studied Portuguese and English literature at the University of Edinburgh. He has also lived in Sussex, Lisbon, Coimbra, Logroño, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Norwich, where he completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia. His work has included co-translating a book by José Eduardo Agualusa. He translates from Portuguese and Spanish.

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