Thursday, April 30, 2009

Things are Slow

So it's official. Things are going a little slow here. I have been trying to get this project off the ground and after heaving and pulling it's not really going anywhere. Until key people get back to me I am working on switching gears, so we'll see where this takes me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


The city has a tendency to be loud, overwhelming, rude, and abrasive, but through all of that there are glimpses of what Rio may have been in the past, as well as what Rio still is when you rise above the city and overlook the complex maze of streets, encapsulating islands of water and earth. On the way into Rocinha, which is becoming a daily journey, as we begin moving into our new apartment, we pass young boys fumbling large black machine guns, some with big smiles on their faces as they may feel a newfound sense of importance in their lives, and some with a look of stone as if they´ve been doing this their whole lives--their broad shoulders blocking the small alleyway, their hands wrapped around their chosen weapon with confidence and determination. You get used to seeing this, but each time it makes my heart beat a little faster as I pass them in the streets.

On the way to the institute the other day we passed two little boys with perfectly crafted and assembled machine guns made out of plastic tubing. They were screaming and running through the small alley as their parents and neighbors looked on with disinterest or a vague smile. I was astonished at the accuracy that they had built these little plastic models as well as their battle, which most likely mimicks what that they have witnessed between gang members and the police force. The traffickers represent a very small portion of the people that live in Rocinha, but their presence dictates more than I can understand at this point. They are the law in this lawless place. While this isn't the representative of everyone living in this place, it is something that is impossible to ignore.

Trying to wade through the difficulties and joys of traveling with another human being is something I haven´t ever had to do before on such grand a scale. On top of that, dealing with the photographic concepts that are running through my head, living in a favela, and you´ve got an interesting balance that has a tendency to come crashing down late at night. Today marks a little over one month that Terry and I have been in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While I have been focusing more on getting settled than taking pictures last week I hope some leads I have will be coming into action soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Two Brothers Foundation


As you may know, We are volunteering at the Two Brothers Foundation and will be teaching photography classes to young children in the largest favela in South America called Rochina. This is a community run by drug traffickers and there is an alarming sense of lawlessness in the area. For many of these children, these classes are a way to keep out of the gangs, find inspiration, and discover the possibility of seeing life outside of Rocinha, through the lens of a camera.

During our time here, we hope to introduce basic camera functionality, compositional techniques, and the importance of storytelling through the still image. We will be supplying the students with cameras we so gracefully lugged here and film to photograph different themes through Rochina every week. If you have any old cameras, film, or equipment, books, etc. that you would like to donate we would greatly appreciate this. In addition, if any of you could spare any monetary donations to help cover the costs of supplies and developing, we have set up a paypal account that you may transfer your much appreciated donations. We can't stress enough how much even small amounts will help. Thank you for your thoughts, donations, and time.

With love,
Matthew and Terry

Shapes and Color