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The person I didn’t write about until now is the one who truly inspired me, from the very first moment we met, and how lucky I am to have met him! His name was Otto Stupakoff, a then already elderly photographer who stopped by the agency (Ford Models) because he wanted to get in touch with Eileen Ford. Those at reception deemed him nothing but a crazy old man, but when they told me what he said, I knew exactly who this “old man” was.
Otto and I became friends very quickly, I suppose after all those adventures he had, taking pictures at the most amazing locations and surviving imprisonment by cannibal tribes and avalanches, he probably just needed someone to share his stories with, now that he was back in Brazil, alone, and without really knowing anybody. I stood in awe of every sentence he spoke of, not only was his life fantastic, it was always every inch of what I hoped mine would be.
Mr. Stupakoff wrote to me:
“Friend Gabriel, may our paths continue to cross on the streets and avenues of this and other lives.”
That is the most cherished possession I have to this day, therein is the sum of all our conversations and experiences together for the short period we got to know each other. He was a dreamer, a storyteller, a bon-vivant, he was and still is, a star.
In my writing, I wish to emulate Otto Stupakoff, his lightness, and tranquility, his excitement for life. In my writing, I hope to transmit the “joie de vivre” that I saw in action then, for the first time in my life. Writing exists not only to inform but to lift the spirits and create a world that very much can be ours too.
I will never stop dreaming; therefore I can never stop writing.
– GABRIEL RUAS SANTOS ROCHA
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