Friday, 29 August 2014

For personal reasons this blog has been discontinued

Thank you all for reading, commenting and supporting me over the years!

ps. if you are in SP and would like to offer your time to get it online again, please get in touch.

Monday, 4 August 2014

The story behind René Burri’s iconic photo of São Paulo

Everyone has seen this picture before. Well, almost everyone. René Burri's iconic photograph is perhaps the most famous photo of São Paulo.

Taken in 1960, at a time when São Paulo was on a rapid rise to become one of the world’s most important industrialised cities, the black and white photograph’s timing and composition perfectly captures the both the moment and the historical period.

Burri was born in Switzerland in 1933 where he learned to play with his father’s camera. By the time he was 20, Burri was already a trained photographer of the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts and began documenting life as a cadet during his two years in military service.

Only after this did he have some contact with formal photography studios and starting his own projects. Before long he was published in French magazine Science & Vie and embarked on a trip to Paris to personally show his work to Magnum Photos.

David Seymour co-founder of Magnum was so impressed that he made Burri an associate member of the agency and arranged further assignments for him.

He soon began shooting in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America including Brazil. And it was while photographing in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1960, that Burri worked on an assignment for German magazine Praline and captured one of his most iconic images. The shot is of four shadowy businessmen walking on the rooftop of a skyscraper amid a smoke filled background, tens of stories above the busy streets below. It was a stunning, dramatical image that announced the metropolis of São Paulo's to the outside world.

Besides being iconic, the photograph has historical importance too in that it was a tipping point in Burri`s career. He shot it using an 18mm lens despite Magnum members only being allowed to shoot from 35mm to 90mm. Henri Cartier-Bresson, who had mentored Burri for many years and insisted on not using lenses below 35mm, was kept at a distance after this shot and Burri followed his own path into photography`s history books.

Burri in 2010 at the age of 81
He argued in favour of new and different photographic styles and continues to do so to this day. "Everybody now has a cell phone and can take snaps, which is great - even children," he says. "But my advice for young photographers is to go and cover things that nobody else is thinking about. Put your nose into things. Use the third eye of the camera and don't be completely dependent on Photoshop or the way other people want you to cast the world."

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The economic cost of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo’s transport failures

FIRJAN (the Industry Federation of the State of Rio de Janeiro) has just released data on the cost of traffic congestion in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. They estimate that together the two cities lost a staggering R$ 98 billion last year, the equivalent of 8% of the cities’ total GDP and 2% of Brazil’s GDP.

Traffic jams are part of daily life in São Paulo
This amount only takes into account lost work hours and doesn’t factor in the health impact of car fuel emissions on the general population or other indirect impacts on the economy. And yet even this conservative estimate is equivalent to the cost of building 200km of extra metro lines every single year!

In fact the amount lost yearly is bigger than the estimated budget for transport capital investment in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina combined. 

How the results will be interpreted, however, is another matter. The more congestion is seen as a problem, the more consideration is given to building extra lanes and highways thereby reinforcing the car culture. 

In a country where car ownership is increasing, local governments need to start thinking about long term solutions focused on encouraging the use of alternate transportation rather than accommodating additional cars which in turn will attract yet more vehicles onto the roads.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Check out Star Alliance's new lounge at Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport

Check out the new Star Alliance lounge which has just opened at the new T3 terminal in Guarulhos.

Following Los Angeles, Paris and Buenos Aires lounges, it is designed to be an alliance lounge rather than belonging to a specific airline.

Star Alliance hired local designers who were tasked with creating a sleek, modern atmosphere using only Brazilian materials. According to Star Alliance that meant "a very Brazilian look and feel, reflecting the strong artesian heritage of the country,"

"The use of wood, rope, natural fibres and typical ceramic finishing bring cosiness to a sophisticated interior and provides a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere to customers."

The 1350 square metre space has various seating areas divided into a variety of different sections including four shower suites, free wi-fi with wireless printing.

Now the catch; it is only open to guests flying first or business class or holders of a Star Alliance Gold card.
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