Tuesday, March 31, 2009

questions of life, of censorship

How do you teach photography to children and adults who live in a community run by local gangs that find photography and the idea of documentation, incriminating? A culture with a structure that will do everything in their power to keep you from taking a picture of something that you weren't even aware was wrong?

How? The waters are higher than I had first measured. I may be in over my head.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Welcome and The Labyrinth

It's been over a week in Rio de Janeiro now, and sometimes, well, most times, Crazy is the only word.
There are piles of garbage with children's hands rummaging through, crazy multi-colored sidewalks, mossy mountains taller than the sky, smells of sewage and vanilla everywhere, and Matthew and I. Wide eyed and often silent, so many textures to handle, a sensory overload, and constant waves crashing over our already loose grip on comprehension.

It is something of a regular miracle that these 12 million people coexist in just this one narrow, long, rectangular city. Sometimes in peace, too often in violence. Never knowing if the booming sound is a firework, a car back firing, or a gun. But knowing that it will not stay quiet for long. A city of children, of music, of soccer, of god. A city of senses, all five senses plus ten more that I never knew I had, all working, exhausting overtime.

We have spent most of our days walking, many of them wandering around Rocinha, the favela I will work in. Rocinha is like nothing I've seen before and a place that words will never describe. It's a hill made of houses, epic in proportions, with winding streets, narrow walkways, tall, dark alleys, and busting at the seams with people and their dogs. It has more colors and sounds than any brain can process, incredibly so. We walk and walk and walk and walk, until our feet feel as tired and detached as our minds at the end of the day do. And knowing that the next day holds even more madness and magic than the previous.

I wish this writing to be a little reflection of the fantastically unrealistic chaos that is Rio de Janeiro. I know it's not much, but maybe it'll paint a picture for some of you. I'll post some photos soon. Thanks for reading, enjoy.

With love,