André Penteado on the creation of Dad’s Suicide:
“My father, José Octavio, took his own life on January 31, 2007, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the age of 72. I’d been living in London for one year when it happened and I’d only contacted him by phone and email during this time.
As soon as I heard the news, without any planning or a clear understanding of my own actions, I started taking pictures. I flew to Brazil the next morning and photographed the funeral.
A couple of weeks later I took all of my father’s clothes to a studio and, with the help of a friend, photographed myself wearing them.
The clothes still had traces of his hair and scent. It was like hugging him again. Then, I photographed all his empty hangers, as well. Somehow, they expressed the way I felt at that moment.
At the time of my father’s suicide I had been shooting for many years a personal diary using point and shoot cameras. Two years after his death I went through this archive and realized that some of the images, from that period, expressed poignantly the way I felt during that time.
When working on an artist book of the funeral for an exhibition in London, I decided to include copies of the four suicide notes he had left. Based on one of them I created the last piece of this body of work: a neon sign of his signature. Since it represented the last time he had signed his name and one of the last actions in his life, this signature struck me with its powerful meaning: with this painstaking formality, he wanted to reassure us that he was certain about his decision.
The project Dad’s Suicide was awarded the Pierre Verger National Photography Prize in 2013 in Brazil and, in the same year, was made into a self-published book.