Originating in the Hellenistic school of philosophical thought of Stoicism, pneuma is regarded by some as perhaps the most important element of human existence—akin to the soul of a person and responsible for their every emotional and sensorial experience, and resulting actions thereafter. Fernandes investigates these human experiences with the combination of her photographic works and found archival imagery; daily occurrences such as obstacles, emotion, tension, change, life, and death are all considered here.
For Fernandes, the ongoing project began upon finding an archive relating to Maria Adelaide—an honorary saint of the people of Vila Nova de Gaia, the hometown of the photographer. In the museum dedicated to the saint, photographs of loved ones are brought by visitors in search of comfort and assurance. Fernandes was inspired by the transformative effect such photographs can have; their ability to evoke memories, conjure emotion, or even offer guidance to others. In the context of an archive, individual photographs take on a new role as part of a collective whole. In ‘Pneuma’, Fernandes looks to the photographic archive as a means of visualizing the founding elements of the human psyche; a collection of interwoven parts intricately linked to form a whole. The photographs of Fernandes carefully consider the complexities of human life, whilst reinforcing the power of photography as a tool to convey emotion and nurture human connections.