Maurício de Paiva

Maurício is a documentary photographer from São Paulo, who has been researching the Amazon basin for 12 years. His essays present the lifeways of traditional populations with an emphasis on the pre-cabralian archaeology, through the register of surrounding archaeological sites. He is a regular collaborator with National Geographic Brazil, with more than a dozen articles published. 

I met Maurício in 2004, when I was the Art Director for National and did the photo editing and the layout of his first photo journalistic report for the magazine. His unique narrative style is aligned with the scientific rigor of the information, obtained through his work with researchers (archaeologists, anthropologists, biologists, ethnographers, etc), stood out, but what really impressed me was his documentation of the daily life of riverine populations, in carefully developed images.  Needless to say, when invited, I gladly accepted to help produce an exhibition at Sesc Itaquera, in São Paulo, editing the images, doing the expographic design and catalogue. The exhibition would be based on the book Futebol na Amazônia – Imagem e Alarido, in which Maurício documents futelama (literally, mud soccer), soccer played in villages of the Atlantic Amazon, on mud fields at low tide. 

With more than 100 print in his archive at hand, we looked for sub-themes that were representative of the photographer’s body of work: archaeological sites in Acre, with geoglyphs remitting to the soccer field; the recent story of the abandoned factories at the end of the rubber cycle (of which the ball is made); the movement of the body/sport in the daily life of the fishermen. Within each theme we arranged the images in diptychs and tetraptychs, using color as the unifying element – signature characteristic of the photographer – and the actions of the characters.

Once the 31 images for the exhibition were chosen, I focused on the design of the title and the walls. I chose a heavy, serif typeface font, which resonates with the numbers on the soccer jerseys. The resource of applying phrases on the walls came from my experience in design with magazines and reinforces the concept of a group of images, imparting another level of meaning.  

The exhibition Alaridos - jogo dos elementos showed from January to May, 2015, and was well attended .

See the article about the exhibition on the National Geographic Brasil site.

 

João Castellano

My first contact with João Castellano was through a great friend and photographer, Victor Moriyama. Victor thought I would really like Sou Farofa, a personal project that João had been producing for four years, based on an assignment done for weekly Brazilian magazine, IstoÉ, where he works. Victor was right: as the prints were being laid out on the restaurant table where we met, with powerful scenes of working class beach goers, a conversation I had had some days earlier with Martin Parr, one of the masters of documentary photography, echoed in my mind. 

During a lecture in São Paulo, Parr questioned, with indignation, why so few people were documenting the daily lives of contemporary Brazil. Why the tendency to investigate traditional photojournalistic themes from the 60s and 70s – indigenous issues, poverty, violence – or to choose a conceptual focus, searching for the most lucrative market in fine art photography? Wouldn’t we be missing the chance to show the real Brazil? Who would have documented the rise of the new middle class and who would be following its difficulties faced with the economic crisis? What is the day-to-day of the common Brazilian, resident of the big cities? What do they do in their leisure time? 

Some of these answers were there in front of me, in this work that presented the social inequality in the country in an original and exciting way. The compositions João developed, with many layers of information, emanated energy and pulse, and are accentuated by the use of flash and saturated colors. But what is more impressive is the intimacy he achieves with his subjects. It’s rare to see people so comfortable in front of a camera. All of this, I discovered is a reflection of João’s personality, the empathy he establishes with people and the time he spends with them – literally an entire day on the beach. 

Although I was enthusiastic about what I saw, João, on the other hand felt he needed help. He wasn’t sure if the work was ready. He planned to spend a month in Recife, documenting Brasília Teimosa – which he would add to the body of work with scenes at the Guarapiranga dam, in São Paulo, and at the Ramos public pool, in Rio. I agreed that the last step was necessary and, one month after this trip, we did the final editing to be presented on his professional site. 

João also sent the final edition to Burn magazine, curated by Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey, with whom he had done a workshop in the past.  Later, Sou Farofa was published in Burn, and won the world over, having appeared in publications in China, Germany, the United States, among others.

See Sou Farofa in Burn Magazine

 

Djan Chu

Djan Chu is a photographer from São Paulo who works primarily as a photographer and architect, besides developing original projects and research. Djan has published work in various books, magazines, and national and international sites, such as National Geographic Brazil, Wallpaper, Arquitetura& Construção, Casa Vogue, Bamboo, Interior Design, and ArchDaily.

On a holiday trip to Portugal, Djan produced a series of photos of commercial and residential façades that highlight architectonic and decorative elements of Portuguese culture. The set of images, without any professional ambition, produced an essay that is unpretentious, elegant and rich. 

At the end of 2015, I participated in an edition of the Cavalete Fair in São Paulo – an event for photographers, gallery owners and artists to show and see work in the form of fine art prints, books, accessories, etc. Besides offering a series of enlargements of works in progress, I suggested Djan join the work in one book and print it independently, with a short run.    

Printed at a quick, high quality graphics place, the book Museuzinho, took the shape of a cult, art object, stimulating and very nice, which integrates into the universe of independent publication hot in Brazil and the world. The 32 numbered and signed copies enjoyed great success at the fair. 

 

 

Marcio Pimenta

 

Marcio Pimenta is a documentary photographer based in Curitiba. He works for national and international newspapers and magazines such as: The Guardian, Rolling Stone, El País, and National Geographic Brazil, among others. 

In 2015 I was preparing a special edition on the water crisis in Brazil for National Geographic and Marcio sent an article that he produced on his own about the city in the State of São Paulo, Ilha Solteira. Built around a hydroelectric plant, it has had its economic activities affected by the worst drought in the southeast of Brazil between 2014 and 2015. Marcio Pimenta had done some excellent research and documented, in photos and in text, various aspects of the life of the city, in a narrative ready to be a part of the edition. This reporting marked his debut in National Geographic Brazil and we had the beginning of a perfect synchronicity of language in powerful narratives. Exactly one year later, the article, title “The end of abundance” received the Petrobras Journalism award in the national category. 

When Marcio proposed another agenda for the magazine, he asked for my help in developing the photographic script. The theme he imagined this time was the production of cigars in Bahia. Marico grew up in the backlands of Bahia and was familiar with the history and had easy access to the locals. Once again he immersed himself in months of studies about historical documents and interviews. With an early research on the history of the cigar making industry at hand, I created a photographic script with locations and situations to be documented. I also prepared an archive with references of images to guide the photographer. The article was published in the May, 2016 edition of National Geographic Brasil. The script I had prepared helped to put in the archives an important chapter in the history of the country that until then had been rarely researched.  

Marcio had the kindness to give a testimony about our relationship to the work:

“When the editor of National Geographic Brasil, Ronaldo Ribeiro, he called me to advise me that my report about the water crisis had been approved for publication, he informed me that the photography editor and designer would write to me to talk about the choice of photos. So Cris Veit and I began exchanging e-mails and soon I realized that our dialogue flowed easily. In a visit to São Paulo, Cris had me over to her house and we discussed my earlier work and ideas for future works. We had an immediate connection.  Her sincerity and seriousness, together with her unequalled elegance gave me the trust to go deeper into the proposals that I would produce from then on. Today, I continue producing independently, but it is Cris Veit, the first person who I look for to discuss agendas that I choose and the first person to see the visual stories that I produce before they go to the newspapers and magazines.   Cris, also became a great friend.” 

 

See the story published on National Geographic Brazil's site.