Visual Source

Visual Sources allow us to get a better glimpse into the lives or situations of people around the world. When we read or listen to different sources about the topic that we are researching, our imagination does the work of putting everything those source tell us about the topic into images in our mind. With visual sources the viewer can compare and contrast the image that they have in their mind. Sometimes the visual source is not what the viewer imagined but other times it can bring to life our imagination.

My first exposure to the quilombola communities was watching the movie Quilombo. That movie skewed my perspective of quilombolas because as I read articles about quilombos, I pictured them in jungles and everybody dressed in beautiful colors. Now that I have been researching, I realize that quilombos are all very different and can be in various areas in Brazil.

I wanted to choose an actual video as my visual source because in my opinion, videos can convey more information and meaning than other visual sources.  The makers of the video above highlight community members that talk about the food, culture, history, and the overall lifestyle of a quilombola. I choose this video because out of all my options that I had, this video had the largest amount of views. For me, the viewership is important because it demonstrates what viewers are watching when it comes to quilombolas and what perception they are given of these communities. I had other videos that demonstrated protest and people from the Movimento Negro rallying behind the Quilombola Movement, but these video only had less than 100 views.

The video above was actually made by Ferrous, a Brazilian mining company headquartered in Mina Gerais. The fact that it was made by a company in Brazil peaked my interest. Ferrous used the quilombolas as an ad campaign to demonstrate their commitment to the communities affected by their overall business. The quilombola communities are portrayed in a very romanticized way. As viewers, we do not see the poverty or the problems facing these communities but instead Ferrous lead us to see the happiness and pride that there is in the quilombolas. They make it seem as if the all the problems that these communities have faces in terms of inequality and injustice have been eradicated. It seems as if they live in their own utopia where they are free to celebrate their culture.

As we all know this is far from the truth. Through my research I have seen that not all quilombolas are prosperous or have an abundance of food or land as demonstrated in this video. Most instances, quilombolas are very poor communities fighting to keep the little land that they use to survive. The fact that Ferrous choose to make a video on quilombolas shows their importance in Brazilian society and politics. By Ferrous demonstrating this wonderful quilombola, the audience starts to think highly of this company because they attribute the prosperity of this community to the help of Ferrous. Which in my opinion, skews the audience’s perception that these communities are not in a need of the assistance they receive or that the Brazilian government with the help of corporations have truly helped the quilombolas. I could also see the argument that Ferrous creating this video educates the audience on the history and traditions of quilombolas. Though in my opinion, there is always a secondary motive for companies to put out an ad like this video.

This is an aspect of video that I find interesting, that the makers can make the audience believe in their message or their view of a situation. When a viewer sees this video they are viewing what Ferrous wants them to believe about the quilombola communities, it does not demonstrate the struggle or the bad parts of these communities. Besides conveying more information, videos can actually shape a viewers belief or thoughts on a variety of topics. This is what make videos a powerful visual source.