In Batismo, A Celebration of Water and Life

In Batismo, A Celebration of Water and Life


Photographs by Gleeson Paulino

Words by Denise Schnyder



In this personal series, photographer Gleeson Paulino turns his lens on water as a life-giving source with the potential to heal and renew those that choose to honor it.

Each return is unique, different in each story. The Batismo series takes us through Gleeson Paulino’s lens as he undergoes a process of unveiling and reconnection with his home country: Brazil. This reconnection begins in the Amazon. The newly arrived artist receives news of the passing of his grandfather, an emblematic man of Indigenous origin. In the first image captured after the news, the woman, with her back turned, seems to be passing through a portal as she dives into the waters of the Rio Negro.


This portal opened a new perspective for the artist. It awakened renewed feelings, rescuing his affective memories and origins in the process. Photography became the vital resource on this journey of rediscovery. The images are powerfully intuitive, yet at the same time their characters’ gestures always carry a sense of concealed symbolism. 


Entering this inner world means entering a space that cherishes what is essential to life. Thus, water, as a vital resource, gains protagonism in the series as a symbol for strength of feelings, purification, healing, and renewal. In the spiritual vacuum of a world where the speed of information can be overwhelming, the individual’s action in the face of an unexpected event is what determines his ethics and, consequently, his aesthetics. The power of art in its power to regenerate and transform our worldview.


This series is an invitation to a new encounter with Brazil, through a baptism of the whole body in the mighty river that crosses this red-hot land—a land that must be recognised as sacred, deep and plural.

A hand hovers over the deep, blue sparkling water.
A blue dress is soaked to transparency, sticking to the midriff of the person wearing it.
A young man peers down as water streams from his dark, kinky curls.
A tree is stands tall, with its bottom partially submerged beneath the ocean water. A person sits in its branches.
A group of indigenous peoples gather at the edge of the Amazon rainforest.
A windy thin plant root lies atop the dark grainy soil in the Amazon rainforest.
A person with long, jet black hair wearing no clothing faces away from the camera, partially submerging their face in the water in the Amazon rainforest.
A man carries a large fish over his back as he wades in murky water in the Amazon rainforest.
A hand is holding a stick with blue and pink cotton candy attached to it. The stick hovers over an array of even more green and pink cotton candy.
A man wearing sunglasses and a tooth necklace treads in the deep blue waters in the Amazon rainforest.
Half a person's face is shown with their eye closed. A gush of water is rolling down their face from the eyebrows down over their closed eye and down their cheek.
A bown stick is inserted directly inside a large, copper colored rocky mass in the Amazon rainforest.
An older person with a gray bun turns their back to the camera. The backdrop is completely black.
An abstract blend of black, blue, green and red.
A shallow blue bucket rests on top of a rock in the middle of a murky swamp in the Amazon rainforest.
A hand is shown grabbing a rock in the distance of a rocky cave like lagoon in the Amazon rainforest.
The foot of a person is shown standing on a dirt path in the Amazon rainforest. They are wearing a long dress and a silver flip flop.
A light blue rosary hangs on the back of a person in the Amazon rainforest.
A person's arms and legs are shown straddling a fallen tree in the middle of a blue lagoon in the Amazon rainforest.
Two young boys float on their backs in shallow rocky water in the Amazon rainforest. Their eyes are closed.
A person lying down in an orange hammock is holding a bowl of eggs. In one hand, they carefully hold a single egg between their fingers.

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