Brazil is the land of superlatives. It boasts the world’s most biodiverse tropical rainforest and the world’s best beach. It’s also the world’s largest exporter of coffee and proud home to the world’s largest gay pride parade. And, if that wasn’t enough, it’s also the largest country in Latin America and the first in the region to host the Olympic Games, which open in Rio de Janeiro on August 6th.
Originally posted on EyeEm.
Brazil is also home to world-class photography. One such example is Alexandre Amaral – aka @alexandreamaral – who has been sharing his 15 years of photography experience on EyeEm for nine months now. We couldn’t resist this opportunity to get the low-down on all things Brazilian street photography!
EyeEm: Tell us about yourself, Alexandre.
Alexandre: I started taking photos when I was an art director, producing photos to upgrade my layouts. I was most concerned with the technical aspects of advertising, product photography, and Photoshop. I used to go to the Botanic Gardens in Rio de Janeiro and took pictures of everything: people, trees, the sky, the sights. I had no idea that photography could be such a vast universe.
EyeEm: What was the next step?
Alexandre: Well I later sold art books in a library. I already had a good visual eye after working in advertising agencies and this was honed during the library years. My friends also pushed me out onto the streets, a close friend taught me photojournalism techniques and I became passionate about photographing my travels. On top of that, I searched for great photographers and studied the great painters.I was fascinated by people and portraits, but concerned about moving closer to people on the streets. I used photography to learn how to approach them. I later fell in love with streets and people – I started to take pictures during the carnival, during popular parties and so on.
The most important thing to me is this: You don’t need a camera to be a photographer. It happens naturally when you are able to observe the world. So when a camera comes to you, you take the picture. It’s not just a tool, it’s a way of life – just as with writers, painters and singers.EyeEm: How do you stay unseen, make your subjects feel comfortable and stay out of trouble?
Alexandre: There’s no other better way to describe a place than through its people. But this is a touchy situation. By definition, street photography means staying unseen – but you can get in touch with people too. It’s a good exercise! Sometimes I don’t mind being noticed and sometimes I’d rather not be. It’s not a matter of following recipes. It’s a thing you have to experience and discover how to deal with.
“Street photography is not about following recipes”
Continued on the next page.