The opposite of Brazil

When I’m abroad and I tell people that I come from Brazil, they almost immediately assume I live my life surrounded by evergreen forests, close to nature and truly connected to the environment. I wish (or maybe not).

Living in a big Brazilian city, I find that I lead a much more urban life than most Europeans and Americans I know. Big cities in this country (and I dare to say in most developing tropical countries) were not built and did not grow with much of a thought for nature behind their expansion. Stupid authorities – and sadly many inhabitants too – used to think that progress was basically connected to concrete and asphalt. And, since we live in a huge country mostly unexplored, no one seemed to care about the green. It was just a matter of taking a car/bus/whatever and two hours later you’d be immersed in nature.

Not so much anymore. Though environmentally friendly development has finally become a major concern here, lives lived like mine, in metropolises, have become very city-focused. It is as if we took nature for granted.

Having said that, it gets easier to understand the work of so many Brazilian artists like Guilherme Maranhão.

Working with discarded films and almost broken cameras, this São Paulo-based photographer examines the relationship city citizens have with its crowdedness, its trash and the consequences of intensive urban-living.

His use of materials considered useless or inappropriate by others is what makes his work philosophy so appealing. Other artists have used trash in their creations, but using it as a tool is something that sounded quite interesting to me.

As I always say, I’m all for breaking stereotypes.


22 responses to “The opposite of Brazil

  1. Thanks for sharing. A good friend of ours just moved back to Sao Paulo from the U.S. Was amazed at how big she said the population is. Lila Frazier

  2. This is unique art. I would like to see more.

  3. Hi, Guilherme !

    thanks for such a nice post, that can enlightening the views of everybody about Brazil — and that includes Brazilians too.

    All the best,

  4. Hi, I’ve been living in Brazil for some time (Sao Paulo) and I’d like to say that I totally loved your post! I completelly agree with your opinion and we do should make effort to break stereotypes, mainly if they are wrong ^^

  5. I lived in Rio between 1987 and 1989 and go back to visit Brazil s often as I can. I really enjoyed this post and will check back for more.

  6. As a budding photography student, I find this way of addressing the problems of overcrowed cities and the immense waste that it produces electrifying. The cameras… they are not perfect, but give an impression of what a discarded piece of hardware can do and function.

  7. I lived in Brazil for 8 years, and when I came to the states, a lot of people asked me if I had lived in trees with monkeys. People don’t realize that Brazil has some of the largest cities in the world!

    That art piece is very interesting by the way. Are those little people in rolling stairs? It looks that way…

  8. Very interesting. I like the art work a lot, too.

  9. can’t wait to go there next Fall!! =)

  10. Every time I think of Brazil, I think of rain forests and the Amazon…Very exotic!

    Ramona Kent
    Author of
    ~Anomar’s Journey~

  11. What a great post, thanks for sharing!

  12. I think it is true and somewhat funny how people think that Brazil would be the forest and nature. I believe this is because they don’t know much about the country and only see the beautiful pictures of its nature. For instance, I used to think that Hawaii was dirt roads and beaches and it is still in the United States. This is definately because of the beach and palm tree pictures I always saw rather than pictures of the city of Honolulu. If people knew more about other countries and what they are made up of I bet we would see that we have a lot more in common than we think as well as the beauty that is different and special from each place.

  13. You DID. Is it OK if I think about this for awhile?

  14. Yes, what a shame – WOW! Brasilians break stereotypes and mother nature. Fantastic. Just like all the boring, self indulgent and destructive people from everywhere.
    Just drop that word Brasil, and everybody’s exotic and erotic projections prick up.
    Wrong, another crap cuntry with a disgusting, white ruling class; exploiting everyone and everything at every turn.
    However, the nature (not human) here is delightful 🙂
    Geez I wish the greenery would fight back, get revenge on humans, swallow them up; unfortunately “God” seems to be a neo-con/servative/sumerist.
    And here is my gratuitous, uneducated link, because I am an egoist and I will use ANY space to sell myself:

  15. How interesting! Thanks for introducing me to the work of Guilherme Maranhão- had never heard of him before!

  16. ” Stupid authorities – and sadly many inhabitants too – used to think that progress was basically connected to concrete and asphalt.”

    A common mistake that gets made over and over and over. In Dubai they think first-world status is basically connected to austentatious wealth. In 18th century Europe they thought wealth itself was basically connected to gold reserves. These days in America they think it’s about foreign trade ‘imbalances’. People always seem to want to associate prosperity with just one simple, measurable attribute, as though something as complicated as prosperity could be reduced to just one dimension. When that kind of oversimplification happens in religion, it is called idolatry. I don’t know what it is called in economics.

  17. Really interesting post. Amazing photos too – surprising what can be achieved with broken cameras and discarded film.

  18. Hey, I totally loved your post! You’re right, Brazil is not a big forest with monkeys like the north americans think. I’m a brazilian, I live in Goiania (maybe you know of the Cesio-137 disaster) and I love living in a big city. Sorry for the bad english (now you know why I write like a stranger – I AM a stranger lol!) Thanks for the post and keep visiting us!

  19. Unique, yes. Nice. I’d like to see more.

  20. Excelente artigo!

    Having visited Brasil, I tend to agree. Well I don’t want to impose anything, but if you do like urbanism and politics (in this case, History) I seriously recommend this documentary about Bogotá (here:

    Valeu. Cheers!

  21. wow Guilherme’s work is brilliant. many treasures in places down south. Thanks for posting

  22. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


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