After six long days covering fashion shows in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the best opportunity to produce a nice shot happened on the last day, at the last show: a model tripped over at the beginning of the show.
During Cavalera’s show at Sao Paulo Fashion Week, models were made to walk through a big puddle of water while artificial rain fell, so the floor was very slippery. When the show began, I concentrated on shooting all the models as there was a big chance that somebody would fall. Indeed, it happened! When the fourth model came towards the end of the soaked catwalk, the poor girl slipped, very close to the photographers pit, but quickly smiled and got back on her feet. The photographers’ reactions was funny because when a model trips they shout and celebrate the fall as an opportunity to make a good picture. The public, on the other hand, applaud in support of the model.
It was one early March morning in 2007 while on my way to shoot an assignment in the Portuguese Language Museum that I found myself amidst a mass of people consuming crack in the heart of Sao Paulo. I had stumbled onto Cracolândia, or Crackland, and the party was one of the living dead. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people openly consuming the drug at such an early hour, oblivious to the flow of pedestrians heading to work in this megalopolis.
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I immediately thought that this was a story that had to be told. I needed to show the reality of life for these addicts and alert residents of the local government’s indifference to this problem in the very heart of their city. In spite of a program by City Hall and the state government for neighborhood renewal, crack is consumed freely 24 hours a day. The police appear to expel consumers from the zone, herding them like cattle to nearby streets where they continue to exercise their vice. The abuse of crack in Crackland has increased day by day in Sao Paulo and Brazil.