I never mentioned you Donald. I know you and we have corresponded privately, remember at one time you wanted to come to live to Mexico. I just think is a bad idea, and besides it is another dead horse that gets beaten every so often, there is nothing new about poverty and you can find deprorable situations in every country.
Originally Posted by Donald Miller
It is one thing to go and photograph the country and if you find and interesting person to ask them to take their picture and another to go there with the mind set that you are going to "photograph the poor."
OTOH Donald, your last comment IMO is invalid. It is the same argument Witkin used. Just because locals ask you does not make it a good idea or something that is ethically right.
In the end is up to you, but why concentrate on the bad when you can concentrate on the good?
Originally Posted by Jorge
While this is taking the discussion off the original topic, I think that your response merits an answer from me.
I understand your viewpoint. I respect it. There are of course, as in most things, several ways of viewing something.
I would like to propose an alternative interpertation.
I think that we can agree that there is proverty in many countries. There is also violation of children and trafficing in humans for slavery and prostitution. We violate children by using them in sweat shops in many places. If we focus only on the beautiful and good in life, are we not ignoring and denying that the bad and the ugly also exist? While on the one hand you view a depiction of poverty as a violation of the poor, I view a depiction of poverty as an aid to their plight.
My basis for this is that if we hold up to the "fat cats" of the world the reality of poverty, violation of human rights, descrimination, and all of the other things that we would rather not see are we not making it damned difficult for them to deny that this reality exists?
Just my views on the matter.
I'm also from Rio, and have visited Recife a couple of times, although it has been a looooong time ago...
The advice you've gotten from Andre is particularly apropos.
"City of God" is a decent look into the lives of Brazilians. Also, Xingu, and "Behind the Sun" (it's native name is Abril Despedacado"), Pixote, Dona Flor and her Two Husbands is another classic from which you can draw alot of assumptions about the place, and it's rhythms.
As with any country that has one foot in the first, and one foot in the third world, the scene is VERY complex. There is another facet that I personaly find interesting - there is dignity, happiness, and humanity beneath the scab of poverty - not only in Brazil, but in any place where people are under alot of durress... that is what I'd be interested in showing... not to exalt the conditions (which are deplorable), not to sidestep the issues, and not to parse a warm fuzzy over a situation that is raw and rough... but really to talk about the people, and not so much about what ails them. What ails them will unmistakeably show thru in the environment and surroundings.. there is no escaping that.. but the when and who you frame and shoot can show so much more than a disection of economic factors...
I can asure you that somewhere along your trip you will run across a bunch of children, probably barefoot and wearing only tattered or no shirts, playing soccer in a street lined with garbage and possibly an open sewer... and I also guarantee you that if you stand there for five minutes you could pull five images of jubilant faces grinning under the sweat of exercion.. THAT is Brasil.... Brasilians are a people that deal with their tough conditions with a heart full of levity, and an eye for the simple joys of life, despite all else...
If you can capture that juxtaposition, you'll have gotten something beyond the cold outsider's perspective of "this place is poor", and have gotten at the heart of what it means to be poor, but unbeaten.
GO MAN! I guarantee that you will come back inflamed at the circumstances, and if you really get it, a little in awe of the people who manage to cope and find happyness on the margins of a larger economy.
As for showing the Fat Cats of the world that they are ***king the **it out of people... dont bother... there are plenty of Brasilian's working on that, have been for a long time... the problem is not a lack of evidence, the issues are MUCH MUCH MUCH more entangled than that. Indiference, and more importantly, greed, market pressures, and a general cultural mindset that says "this is just the way things are" are the primary culprits in the situation.... No amount of photos will make a difference, only legal or market pressures will change the way things are... if your images can cause a change in legislation (which, with all due respect, is not likely, as there ARE plenty of people with their feet on the ground there right now working on it), or bring to bear some kind of market pressure like sanctions... a mere boycot wont do **it . . THEN yes, I'd focus on the conditions... but unless you already have a contact that is willing to push your photos into the right venues.... you'll be far better off looking at the people, than at the sewage.
Like I said - if you can find a party that has some clout, and they are willing to mount a campaign around the pics you take - something like a show in Brasilia (the Capitol), or an ad campaign that targets the CONSUMERS of particular Brasilian products (SUGAR!) like CokaCola... then.. and only then... would pictures of "economics" be most advantageous...
All the above is only my opinion Donald, and I'm not particularly sure that any of it should bear on anything you will be doing.. for after all, the trip is yours, the camera and film are yours, and in the long run, what you do or dont do is NOT up for some decision by committe.... take it all as simple opinon, and of course, you'll draw your own conclusions...
In no way do I feel that ANY kind of photographic work done in any country should be curtailed. I do however opine that there are forms and forms that can suit various purposes.