Rogério Reis - Contemporary Brazilian photography
' Brazilian photographer chronicles his own times'
‘Carnival in Canvas’ is an ongoing photographic project started by Reis in 1987. It centres on Rio de Janeiro’s street carnival. Reis takes photos at various locations in the city. These include the festivities in the financial and political heart of Rio, recorded by Reis with special attention to social and political aspects of the street festival. Then there are the extravagant and exotic celebrations that take place in the trendy district of Ipanema, and finally the sober, improvised festivities at Campo Grande: a rural and far less wealthy neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro.
Rogério Reis’s portraits offer a candid, straightforward picture of the celebrations, the participants and their costumes. Rio’s inhabitants, who generally remain out of the limelight, are the main characters in Reis’s intense eye-witness accounts.
Rogério Reis takes his pictures on location. He uses a mobile photo studio which is little more than an old sheet of canvas. He selects a spot in the middle of the street, ties op his canvas and lets passers-by choose their own pose: the result is a portrait which reflects their identity.
‘Carnival in Canvas’ is more than a series of wonderful portraits; it is a unique record of Rio de Janeiro’s recent social, political and economic history, maybe even of Brazil. As such, Reis has become a historian of his own times.