Self-Documentation by Rio Street Children

Under the Lapa Arches by Sandrino

The BBC website has photos today from a new “exhibition of photographs taken by street children in Rio de Janeiro”.  The idea of the project is to give these children the means to document their own lives, thereby providing a perspective that affluent professional photographers would miss.  The organizers also plan to use this exhibition as a springboard for a job center. 

This one in particular caught my eye.  These nearly-skeletal teenagers are pictured in an embrace that is tender and joyful, but also suggestive of strangulation and hanging because of the the girls upright posture, the angle of her chin, and the boy’s position around her neck.  The off-kilter alignment of the monumental white arches  is reminiscent of a capsizing ship. an impression that is reinforced by the wires strong across the poles at the top.  Given the precarious lives that these children face in Rio, it’s not too much of a stretch to compare this image to cinematic images of young lovers embracing as they face danger or death.  This is Winslet and DiCaprio on the Titanic, except that this couple faces real and daily threats to their lives.

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