folder Filed in Photojournalism, Portrait, Special Projects, Travel / Lifestyle
The Nature of Happiness (Exhibition)
by Henrique Manreza access_time 3 min read

The Nature of Happiness was born out of restlessness. Is happiness linked to what we are or what we have?

A study carried out by USP (University of Sao Paulo) says that the number of people diagnosed with anxiety and depression in São Paulo is similar to that of countries at war. And this is not very different in other large cities around the world.

The feeling of happiness, according to other study, is much more the result of the human relationships we build than the material goods we have, sociable people report more happiness than people who live in isolation and altruistic people say they experience more the feeling of joy and well-being than those who do not seek to help others. At these two points, the human contact that I always seen in the North and Northeast always been spectacular close to Sao Paulo and other large cities in Brazil. Therefore, increasing the potential for happiness and well-being in today’s world means changing our priorities as individuals and society.

My name is Henrique Manreza, I’m a photojournalist and I’ve always wanted to create an authorial project. In 2012 I traveled for 4 months through northern Brazil to document the happiness in the simple lives of the people who live at the top of our map. I passed through 32 cities and now I want to share some of the smiles I had the pleasure of capturing during this trip.

I believe that the world needs more human relationships, warmer bonds, our gaze directed more towards the other than towards ourselfs, more affection and less consumerism. As a photographer, holding this exhibition is my contribution to making this world less sickened by individualism and extreme competition. May the sight of smiles of authentic happiness in such simple lives in Northern Brazil trigger reflections:

What, in fact, elevates our potential for happiness?

May this photographic record shake our certainties and spread some particles of enchantment around…

Exhibition at the Cultural Space “Como Assim?!” at Praça Benedito Calixto in Sao Paulo.


In 2016, the exhibition of the project took place at the Cultural Space “Como Assim?!”… at Praça Benedito Calixto

It was entirely produced thanks to crowdfunding raised through the Kickante website. Every mobilization generated more than 7000 shares on Facebook.

We had 144 direct supporters, we exceeded the initial goal and hit 124%.

As promised during the fundraiser, R$ 1,044.66 was donated to two social works: Projac – Projeto Jacarézinho in Benjamin Constant – AM and NABEM in São Paulo – Capital.

The exhibition was a visual immersion in Brazil that few know and featured 30 hanging photos, 6 handmade lamps, 1 2.5m portrait on the steps of the stairs and 3 explanatory panels – one of them with the text of the writer and educator André Gravatá and the psychologist and writer Yara Nico.

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