| ||Ricardo Rangel|| |
© Ricardo Rangel, self-portrait 1972
"I used to say to the younger photographers, photography is one of the most beautiful professions you can have. I can take you to places more strange and wonderful than you have ever imagined."
| ||Ricardo (Achiles) Rangel was born in 1924 in Lourenço Marques (LM), since 1976 Maputo, the son of a Greek businessman. Of mixed European, African and Asian (Chinese) heritage, he grew up in his black grandmother's house on the outskirts of the city and spent time with his parents in the provinces of Mozambique.
In 1941 he signed on as an apprentice in the photographic laboratory of elephant-hunter-turned-professional-photographer Otílio Vasconcelos. By the mid-40's he had moved to the laboratory of the photographic studio 'Focus', where he began to establish a reputation as a black and white printer. He then started printing in the downtown darkroom of the bilingual daily 'Lourenço Marques Guardian', and he subsequently began working as a printer at nearby 'Notícias', then (and still) the capital's main daily newspaper.
In 1952 he became the first non-white journalist to join the staff of a newspaper in the country, at 'Notícias da Tarde', as a 'foto repôrter'. Already a lover of jazz, his pictures of the performance of Herbie Mann and his big band (who had refused to play in South Africa because of apartheid) were published in 'Down Beat'. In 1956 he moved to the sister publication 'Notícias'.
From 1960 to 1964, he was chief photographer of the newly founded 'A Tribuna', and in the mid-60's he worked as a photographer in Beira for the newspapers 'Diário de Moçambique' and 'Voz Africana', and later for 'Notícias da Beira'. He subsequently returned to 'Notícias' in LM. Many of his images of the era were banned or even destroyed by the colonial censors, and most are now lost.
In 1970, he and a group of four other journalists founded 'Tempo', the country's first colour newsmagazine. As head of the photographic department and chief photographer, he explored and extended the possibilities of photojournalism as a form of active political dissent and recorded the dramatic events that led to the end of Portuguese rule and the birth of independent Mozambique in 1975. In 1977, after the exodus of most of the country's press photographers, he was appointed chief photographer of 'Notícias' and charged with directing and training a new generation of photo-journalists.
In 1978 he was a founder of ONJ (now SNJ), and in 1981 he was nominated director of the weekly 'Domingo'; in the same year he helped found AMF. In 1983 he was assigned to create and direct CFF (now CDFF), where he remains director. He lives and works in Maputo, together with his Swiss wife Beatrice.