New Year’s Eve on Paulista

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(photo by matt masin)

Last night, the crew trekked up the street to Avenida Paulista for the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration any of us have attended. News stories said the crowd would number in the millions and there would be millions of security officers.

I can’t say if there were that many, I can’t say if there were more, but it was packed as far as the eye could see and everyone was having a great time.

Toward one end of Paulista, the street where the celebrations were held, there was a stage where massive Christmas decorations had been a few days before.

The speed of the infastructure work in Brazil continues to surprise me…from my rooftop vantage point where I shot once by myself and once with Matt for my motoboy story, I noticed that in a matter of days all of Brigadeiro, a main cross street of Paulista, had been repaved. In similar fashion, the whole street of Paulista was revamped for this one evening in what must have been record time. I do feel bad for the cleanup crews, though.

Festivities started at 8 p.m. and I’m not sure that they ever ended.

Here’s what our cameras saw last night; we wish you all a happy new year.

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(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by anna reed)

(photo by anna reed)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by matt masin)

(photo by matt masin)

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(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by brianna soukup)

(photo by brianna soukup)

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(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by andrew dickinson)

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(photo by andrew dickinson)

(photo by brianna soukup)

(photo by brianna soukup)

Happy 2013. Stay well, stay happy, stay safe and appreciate everything and everyone that you have.

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Working without a translator

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Today I tagged along with Cara as she went to spend the day with a group of people who tag phrases and symbols around São Paulo.

After a metro/train ride of about an hour we arrived in a tiny, more run-down neighborhood of São Paulo than I’ve seen to this point. Favelas, rolling hills of dilapidated, stacked houses, surrounded the area.

This community likes to drink, and they like to smoke marijuana. “Legalize” was tagged multiple places in the neighborhood, and tiny, one room bars, could be found up and down almost every block. Most were packed with people in the midafternoon – although it was a Sunday, so that could’ve been a big influence.

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We spent the first few hours at the home of our main contact, Leo. He lived in the house seen below with his wife and daughter. This frame shows the kitchen/dining room, one of the two rooms in the house, with the door to the bathroom on the left and the entryway, where there is access to other apartments, on the right. They made Cara and I lunch before they planned on heading out to do some tagging.

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The group spent a little time scoping out an area to tag before they got to painting. On the trip, they rolled a joint and smoked it when they arrived at the location.

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Sometimes, working without a translator is great. It’s always possible to communicate through a few basic words I’ve learned in Portuguese, and hand gestures can usually take care of the rest.

Most importantly, I’ve found that it helps subjects ignore you. When you can’t directly hold a normal conversation, the talking between the subject and me dies down quite a bit and I’m able to make pictures without worrying about inserting myself into the situation. This group was great about letting me do what I needed to do while they did what they needed to do.

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As you can see, they’ve tagged all over. According to the group, run-ins with the police happen somewhat frequently.

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I’m not sure if I’ll have time to get back to this community again due to work on the motoboy story, but I hope I can at least get back out once more.

They warmly welcomed me and showed me their passion, and I feel a renewed sense of appreciation each time someone does that for me.

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Thanks for looking.

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