Three Archetypes of São Paulo

Twelve rolls of exposed 35mm film later, I am finally reading Susan Sontag’s series of essays On Photography. In “America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly,” Sontag uses the work of Diane Arbus, who felt some attraction toward the freaks and pariahs of society, to contrast methods of capturing a subject’s emotion. Whereas the decisive moment represented the most honest and candid expression possible for Cartier-Bresson, photographers like Brassaï and Arbus caught their subjects with a cool and composed demeanor, “fully conscious,” and aware of the photographic act in which they were participating.

Maybe I am too ethical, but I always begin a photograph with an exchange of consent; it builds trust, disarms the subject, and I feel allows something innate—maybe similar to Walter Benjamin’s aura—to come across. Below are three portraits I took a few weeks ago in São Paulo. Three different archetypes of the city.



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