A vast archive of thousands of photographs produced over seventeen years charts the participants lives over a period of unprecedented economic expansion in Brazil. The project demonstrates how photography has been used to intervene in the urban landscape and serves as a powerfully expressive platform for the socially and economically excluded.
Mark Sealy Why was it deemed necessary for you as photographers to begin working with this group of kids? What were the core objectives?
Julian Germain, Patricia Azevedo, Murilo Godoy There was a confluence of events that led up to it. We became friends in 1994. We were all working with found and vernacular images, and we agreed to start working together, generating instead of collecting images. We love the potential of photography—a simple medium with deep possibilities—and we thought about putting cameras into the hands of people who have rarely, if ever, been photographed or made pictures themselves. These people live chaotic lives on the margins of a world where photography is all around, but the photographs are not for them. We wanted to create a situation where it was possible for them to discover photography for themselves. However, we never considered teaching them photography. Our basic idea was that we should all make pictures (us as well as them) using the same equipment. We would supply the cameras, process the films, give them their photographs and then talk with them about the images and experiences. We simply wanted to make this possible, to see what would happen. Beyond that, it wasn’t really planned, but in 1995 we approached three different groups of street kids from Belo Horizonte, all of whom wanted to participate, and we became immersed in a series of complex relationships in a very tough, yet incredibly productive and creative, environment where everyone was actively involved.
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Published in Photoworks Issue 19, 2012
Commissioned by Photoworks