Tag Archives: Brazil

The Colors of Brazil

I enjoy watching the Olympics. I’m especially pleased to see the Olympics in Brazil. I was able to visit Brazil just prior to World Cup. It was a crazy, cultural and colorful experience. I witnessed strikes, mobs, gunfire and incredibly beautiful and colorful scenery. The food was amazing. I ate things I had never heard of.  I met friendly  people and heard styles of music that were filled with life and celebration. My experience in Brazil was amazing.

A Brazilian family out for a stroll.
A Brazilian family out for a stroll.

My friends in Brazil would not take me to the Favelas. They said it was too dangerous. They didn’t want me to get hurt, or robbed.  They didn’t want me to see the poverty, overcrowding, pollution and social problems associated with the Favelas.

Two men in Olinda, Brazil.
Waiting, just waiting on the street in Olinda, Brazil.

Nevertheless, the problems were there. I could feel it in the city. I could feel it in the tension among people. It was present in the bus strikes, the police strikes, the metro strikes. It was seeping out of the Favelas.

São Paulo Police
São Paulo Police strike prior to the World Cup.

We were eating lunch at a restaurant near the harbor. Suddenly the lights in the restaurant went out. The restaurant owner told us we had to leave. They were closing. The mobs were coming. The police were on strike and the mobs were looting and robbing.

We had to go.

Now, the Olympics are in Rio and the world celebrates the games. However, many Brazilians, proud of their country and culture, are excluded from the celebration. They can’t afford it.

Hopefully, these games will be a celebration of the the Olympic spirit which inspires all of us, regardless of country and culture. And, hopefully, that same spirit will help to elevate the quality of life in Brazil and shed light on problems which afflict us all, not just those in Brazil.  Perhaps these games will move an immensely complicated people to search for answers to the growing social ills that color the lives of a very colorful country.

Brazilian Sunset 6

I originally intended to post seven sunsets from Brazil, but the number seven hasn’t been good for Brazil this week, so I think I’ll stop at 6. Besides, I’m flying right now and can’t watch their game against  the Netherlands. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll post a sunrise shot, instead. Or, maybe I’ll just post the rest of my Brazil gallery and call it quits.  Here’s to a less competitive, stress reduced life. Let’s go net fishing in Recife 🙂

IMGL3627_Recife Fishermen_2

Brazilian Sunset 3

By this point, you might be wondering why I’m not in Brazil. For that matter you might be asking yourself why you’re not in Brazil. I can’t answer that question for you, except to say that if you have to see a spectacular sunset, Brazil is a great place to do so.

Brazilian Sunset 3–enjoy.

IMG_2866_Recife Sunset

Brazilian Sunset 1

I’m out of town this week attending a Director’s Seminar at the Maine Media Workshop, so, I thought I would try scheduling a daily post from my recent Brazil trip. Regardless of the outcome in the World Cup, the sun will set on Brazil. And, when it does, it will be beautiful. Here’s the first of a 7 day, daily sunset post from Brazil.

Comments are welcome. Feedback encouraged.

IMGL3661_2_3_Recife Fisherman

Faces of Brazil

I’m usually shooting video on assignment. Too often, stills are second priority and I never have enough time. However, when I go out in the streets, I have this compelling desire to capture the essence of the street–documentary style–a story in every frame–a thousand stories in a single image. I don’t consider it stealing, although, I try to take the spirit of a place with me.  I try to be invisible so that I and my camera don’t interrupt the realness of the moment. I rarely succeed. At least, that’s how it feels. Sometimes I get lucky and freeze the moment I was seeing in my mind.  People are my favorite and hardest to shoot. I love to capture the stories that are written in the lines of faces and hands, or, deeply etched on the soul through the eyes–stories I can only invent–stories you will see differently. Perhaps our own stories are written by the ways and means with which we see the world.

Brazil is exciting, vibrant, constantly moving. The scenery is diverse and beautiful. So, too, are the people.

Recife Brazil, Beautifully Dangerous

“Don’t go in the water,” my friend said.

“Why not. It’s so beautiful.”

“Sharks.”

“Sharks?”

SHARKS!

Yet, as I looked around, people were happily and ignorantly swimming in the warm inviting water. Worth the risk? I don’t think so. I didn’t need to speak Portuguese to understand the signs.

The beaches in and around Recife are some of the most dangerous in the world. People regularly ignore the colorful warning signs, especially when intoxicated, and risk life and limb, literally, by going in the water. Shark attacks are a common occurrence.

I had the privilege to spend a few days in Recife, prior to World Cup. I enjoyed tremendously the beauty of the city, and, the beaches. There were no shark attacks while I was there. However, twelve people were killed in riots during a police strike in the city. So, I guess you take risks there, in, or out of the water.

Strikes in Brazil

Fish for lunchWorld cup was still a few weeks away. We were eating lunch in a little cafe in Recife. The food was delicious. My new Brazilian friends were delightful. The lights in the restaurant went out and the cafe owner approached our table. He spoke rapidly and seemed agitated. I don’t speak Portuguese, but my friends look concerned.  I looked around and noticed that the cafe was empty. It wasn’t, just a moment before.

São Paulo PolicePolice Strike.

Gangs were coming. People were rioting. The situation was dangerous. The cafe was closing and we needed to leave.

São Paulo public transportationA few days later, in São Paulo, our taxi driver told us the bus drivers were on strike. We were so close to the hotel, just one block left to go. Traffic stopped.

Let’s walk, I said.

Too dangerous. With your equipment, the taxi is the best option.  Cars stopped. Buses blocked roads. It took us  an hour to go one block. The city was in turmoil.

São Paulo PoliceThe next morning, another strike. The Police, again, in eleven Brazilian states. We may not be able to get the shots we were looking for. Crowds. Riots. Craziness.
Street MusicianStreet performers playing cool jazz. Just another crazy day in Brazil.

I stood on the roof of an old hi-rise building,in downtown São Paulo,  taking pictures and shooting B-roll video of the city. Police Strike, Sâo PauloBelow me I could see Police–all of them. On Strike. When I took their pictures, they were friendly and seemed rather pleased. They had nothing else to do, World Cup was still a few weeks away.Sã Paulo Police

Street Musicians