Vasconcellos took the pictures in his series Navios (Ships) using an underwater camera held barely above the water’s surface. Seeking to mimic the instability of water, he printed the image using an out-of-focus enlarger and pieces of cotton soaked in developer. Then, in a gesture of material alchemy, he turned the photograph into a sort of vessel itself, using a sepia finish to give the picture the shiplike tone of rusted iron. Recalling the legacy of multinational exploitation of natural resources in the Americas, the title refers to the Petrobras (Brazilian petroleum) cargo ship shown in the image as well as the Brazilian colonial hero André Vidal de Negreiros, who led the insurrection against the Dutch invasion of the Portugese colony of Brazil in the seventeenth century.
"Acquisitions of the Princeton University Art Museum 2013," Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 73 (2014): p. 37-64.