Neyde Lantyer

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“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” _Virginia Woolf

“The truth is, I often like women. I like their unconvetionality. I like their completeness. I like their anonimity.”  _Virginia Woolf
(Santa Therezinha Souls)
Film photography
Salvador da Bahia

“Is not the pastness of the past the more profound, the more legendary, the more immediately it falls before the present ?”
― Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

In 1996, the Santa Therezinha Hospital faced an exceptional challenge concerning its staff: the older workers, caretakers and professionals were resisting to retire, scared to leave the place where they spent great part of their lives. I took their portraits as a tribute and the start point of their retirement process.

The photo-sessions took place amidst their shyness and nostalgia of the “good old times”. They all held vivid memories of their early years in the institution, mentioning their impressions of the newly built Santa Therezinha, a modernist structure standing imponent amidst a popular neighborhood. The oldest of them, Mr. Gilberto, put it in some beautiful words: “The building was a wonder with its round veranda’s and the impressive lightening. It looked like a transatlantic!”.

Nevertheless, another layer of the story remained silent: the fact that many years before, my father died in a bed of that very hospital. There I was with those men and women in front of my camera, as a vision of my own fragmented past. I was looking into the eyes that looked in the eyes of my father in his last year living. I was only 10 years old when he died.

Had those nurses, doctors, technicians, caretakers known my father? Have they exchanged a word and eventually listened to his tales (he was known as a great story teller) or, very likely, have them treated his pain? The possibility was real since he spent a long year in one of those beds until his death from cancer.

The emotion took me over. I thought I was just about feeling their humbly hearts, shaped in decades of dedication to chronicle and terminal patients like my father. However, I did not ask anything. My own singele tribute to them was by means of the very photographs: instead of the expected vertical portrait, I chose the horizontal approach, allowing their eyes to continue speaking their kindness throughout the times.




The Santa Terezinha Hospital was inaugurated in 1942 in Salvador da Bahia, a modernist building following the principles of the “healing architecture” that considered light, ventilation and the environmental conditions for the treatment of tuberculosis.

The building was planned by modernist architects Jorge Machado Moreira (Rio de Janeiro, 1904-1992) and Diógenes de Almeida Rebouças (Bahia, 1914-1994) as an example of the use of architecture to support the health restoration, enhancing patient’s comfort and recovery, according to the medical paradigm of the time.

The solar incidence and cross ventilation as an aid in healing tuberculosis demonstrated architecture as part of the healing process. In the present day, environmental concerns and the humanisation of hospitals’ architectural space are back on the agenda.  (in CARVALHO. Antônio Pedro Alves de, “The healing architecture of Santa Terezinha Sanatorium”. Ambiente Construido. vol.20 no.3 Porto Alegre July/Sept. 2020  Epub July 03, 2020                 


Photograph and map taken from the refered article. 

Neyde Lantyer 2021 @All rights reserved