“In 1986, I left Brooks Institute of Photography, in Santa Barbara, California. I was 25 years old and went on a trip around Asia. I had some money on my pocket and all the time I needed to explore the continent and to take pictures. That trip was the definite step to what I have achieved so far. I went to Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, China and Tibet. I carried my Hasselblad and tree lenses. I ended up staying five months travelling around. At the end of that trip I visited Tibet. Since then I have come back two more times. My next book will be a photo documentary about Tibet.
At the end of 1991, I was on a trip inland Brazil when I saw the first charcoal camp in my life. The first impressions were so strong that I realized I had to come back. At my second trip I spent six months shooting charcoal camps all around central Brazil. By 1992 "The World Summit" took place in Rio and I arranged my first major exhibition as an official event. At this time I received my two most important prizes in photography; The World Press Photo and the UNEP contest, both with pictures from the charcoal issue. The year after I decided to dedicate my energy and concentrate on my documentary issue about the Tibetan people and I started to plan my return to Tibet. My reportage about Tibet became a major exhibition in the two most important museums in Rio and Sao Paulo. It won two International prizes; the International Campaign for Tibet, 1998 and 1999.
In 1997 while I was preparing my book The Charcoal People, I got involved in a film documentary inspired by my photographic work on that issue. I then found out that if I could do both photo and film documentary on the same subject, I would better cover the story I was trying to tell. From that experience, I am now working on film documentaries and also developing my photo issues in parallel. I have been doing films for National Geographic Television in USA and I am now preparing my third documentary issue The Dump Collectors about the people who separate the garbage we throw at the dumps. I have been working on this project the last 7 years and it will become a book and a film documentary.
I shoot all my images with my Hasselblad 500CM, four lenses, three backs and some filters. I love the square format. It is much more difficult to compose an image, but if you can do it, the equilibrium is about perfection. I don’t use artificial light or a tripod. To have more range on shooting, I use 400ASA films and hope I can capture the right moment.
I have no artistic goal with my work. My main goal is to make people aware about some issues that remain far from our daily lives, and to bring consciousness and information so that people can fight for what it is important in life”.
Marcos Prado told his story to Kerstin Fiedler