Accomplice of light

Planaltina cave, Brasil Novo, Pará state, Brazil. Photo: Adriano Gambarini

Darkness is absolute. Time gives the air of grace when one hears, in the subtlety of silence, drops falling uncompromisingly from a crystalline straw of calcite. What you see is just what the light on the helmet itself is capable of illuminating, and nothing else matters to that bewildering immensity.

Everything ruled by its domains is superlative, both in the grandeur of the salons and in the micro details of its delicate life. Something like a fractal universe, the exemplification of balance and that in the end is just an instant. Like a drop that falls. Where there needs to be a huge void for something to happen, slowly crystallize. The most accurate embodiment of the ongoing dynamics of evolutionary processes in the world.

Somehow this is what I always looked for, and found, in more than two decades of involvement with an activity that has become more than the extension of a speleological study, the craft of documenting a fantastic world or a life adventure. Entering a cave became the encounter with stillness.

Where the ears experience the pleasure of hearing nothing, and thoughts stop dominating the mind. There, in that absolute darkness, our inner monsters and angels live well together; are introduced, get to know each other and understand each other. Where the Earth expresses itself legibly, and the spoken language can be heard, and often understood.

More than seeing them as a great frontier to be explored, having the pleasure of crawling through gigantic limestone blocks balanced on slippery floors, or even deciphering hidden corners in the shadows, caves always refer to the feeling that we are part of something bigger, sometimes incomprehensible, but always welcoming.

The quest to best portray these monumental environments has always been proportional to the dedication imposed, illuminating the unknown and doing justice to what is most beautiful under that darkness. After all, whatever the destination of the gaze, the cave will prove to be masterfully fantastic. I walked the path of photography with the honor of sharing this world apart, with details as magnificent as mysterious, where light defines shadow and vice versa. In fact, it was precisely in the caves that I learned the photographic concepts of light and shadow.

And, perceiving the shadow, I became an accomplice of light.


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