Thursday, September 17, 2009


São Paulo

São Paulo City is BIG, the biggest city in South America and home to more high-rise buildings than I have seen anywhere else. Of course, there's a lot of concrete and it naturally became the substrate for a great deal of the city's art -- both human made and made by nature.

It's been quite a visual adjustment to be so "concretized". In the forest I roamed almost always with my camera and never failed to find photographic beauty. But I have largely ignored the city, at least camera-wise. Indeed, missing home in Acre, I was starting to develop an "attitude". So I decided to spend some time exploring what kind of photos might be captured from the concrete.

Just about every one who visits comments on the graffiti. Yesterday, Dave (who was visiting from NY) and I took a stroll through the neighborhood to check it out. I think this was my favorite:


Here's a slideshow of more graffiti and Dave getting into its mood.

Again, in this morning's soft light, I got intrigued by the concrete surfaces of the neighborhood -- especially by the patinas built up by weathering and many layers of paint, and the way they contrasted with things natural and human-made. It turned out to be like opening a a treasure chest.

Here's one


and, another slideshow:


patcegan said...

you see with the eyes of an artist. I am always intrigued when I see a wonderful picture of something that I would have walked by and probably not noticed. Beautiful pictures. I am a bit of a snob about pictures from nature so thanks for opening my eyes to the possibilities of cities, which mostly I avoid.

Lou Gold said...

Thanks for your kind words, Pat. Being a nature-lover, I have to get past my anti-city bias to find the beauty but it is truly present, waiting to be seen. I guess it's that way with anything that I might judge too severely.

My camera is nothing special, a somewhat dated Canon S3. It's inexpensive and limited but I have learned how to work with it and it has become my great friend.

I think there are 2 "tricks" to know in photography: the first is to shoot many, many pics so that at least some will be promising. The second is to understand that it is extremely rare for a photo to be good "straight from the camera". Post processing is at least half of the work, sometimes even more.


linda said...

Stunning photos and all...some purists would vehemently disagree with you on "Post processing is at least half of the work..." Regardless, your eye for vibrancy and contract of color and theme is exceptional!

Lou Gold said...

Hey Linda, great to hear from you. Thanks for sharing my visual fun. You know, I have never ever seen a photo (mine or others) that looks anything like what I see with my eyes. All of photography is virtual. So, I always wonder what the purists are talking about? I think that they are talking about is defending a particular style. And here, yes, there can be great straight-from-the-camera styles. I've seen marvelous stuff from cell phones, for example.

Lou Gold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Irena said...

Hi Lou, I visited Sao Paulo in '99 and in 2003 for a couple of weeks and I recognized it immediately before I read the caption or knew you were there. Really enjoyed these beautiful photos. Still wondering about the pink bamboo--painted, or is this a different plant?

Lou Gold said...

Hi Irena,

It's bamboo. Its color is more grey-brown on dull days and more red-brown at some angles of the sun. In the photo above I heightened the saturation which tends to bring out the reds.

The quality I was seeking in this project perhaps sits between painting and photography. There were no manipulations (filters or effects) used but as I cropped and rotated and made the colors more vivid I was definitely thinking of the kind of compositions that one might see in a modern art museum.