Back to Hell

I have recently published a book in, the homepage of a print-on-demand system. Its name is quia in inferno nulla est redemption and I already talked about it in this blog. It has 24 pages, 12 black-and-white photographs and a text I wrote about the project (a reviewed version of one I previously posted). You may browse the first pages here.

By the way, the portfolio number 4 (out of 10) of the same work (but with only 9 photos) is already available at P4Photography, in a cardboard case I made specifically for portfolios 4 and 5.


Europe barely survived the widespread paranoia that smothered it for nearly a century. Wherever we look, there are signs telling us that the scars are neither forgotten nor healed, symbols that could be the perfect altars for the Memory. However, the European man insists on living in the present. He has no past; he refuses to look over his shoulder, maybe because he fears that, as a consequence, he must face the future.

After falling from the cultural melting pot of the 19th century Mitteleuropa directly into Inferno, western Europeans covered themselves with a veil of delusion that was soon revealed to be no more than a drag, stretched enough to cover the shame, but not enough to protect them from a changing world. Convinced they found the way to prosperity and peace, inebriated by Bismarck’s legacy, and overlooking (sometimes even denying) the flames of Hell that were still burning in the other side of the Curtain, they thought that a new life was possible after the World War II, away from the dreadfulness witnessed by mankind in the first decades of the 20th century. As a result of a quasi-religious conduct, they dreamed of a kind of Eden, an earthly reward for all that former suffering. But History never ends, and those who ignore this fact engage in an existence on the edge of oblivion.

What can possibly be the cause of this crisis, of such a long romantic opera’s libretto (if not Romanticism itself)? Is Europe’s past — not only its dark history but also its glorious achievements — a burden too heavy to bear? In fact, what is left for a culture that already nourished Mozart’s Jupiter, Beethoven’s Seventh and Wagner’s Ring? As Lou Reed puts it (with a pessimism and humility so rare in the pop environment, with all its celebration of the lower culture and refusal of higher standards): you can’t be Shakespeare and you can’t be Joyce, so what is left instead? There’s not much left, indeed. To worsen the situation, Europe collapsed to hysteria and then fell on the last circle of Hell. And, once in Hell, there is no redemption. That, above all, is Europe’s contemporary tragedy.

The photographs in this book aim at portraying that distressed Europe, not literally, not figuratively, but instead in an evocative approach. Colour is now recurrently used to show the grief of the modern middle classes or the monotony of the suburbs, but only black-and-white can properly suggest the misfortune of a fading Europe.

Carlos M. Fernandes, in quia in inferno nulla est redemptio

One response to “Back to Hell

  1. Gonçalo Ribeiro


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