A lifetime ago, the village of Torre in the hinterlands of Portugal had 200 inhabitants. Parents worked the fields and children studied in the village school. But as happened in hundreds of villages throughout Portugal—and really, the world—Torre’s population started dwindling. Younger generations left to pursue careers in bigger cities, leaving the older ones to care for family farms. And though they seem forgotten by nearly everyone, these grandparents are still around today, getting up as the sun rises every morning to tend to their crops. Last year, Colombian photographer Marcelo Londoño traveled to Portugal to illustrate the impact of the financial crisis. But he says what he found in Torre was a much deeper life lesson.
Roads & Kingdoms: How did you find the village of Torre? What attracted you to it?
Marcelo Londoño: I was traveling in Europe and some friends told me about this small village that was about to disappear. I started to think how fascinating it could be to visually document this village and its history – I’ve always been attracted to small places and simple people, as well as their relationship with their roots and their place of birth. As soon as I had the opportunity to travel there, I went. And I was lucky enough to be there during [life-long Torre resident] Ti João’s 80th birthday.