In 2004, photographer Tuca Vieira captured the image of the Paraispolis favela next to its wealthy neighbour, Morumbi, that has now come to symbolise the gap between So Paulos rich and inadequate. He returns us the inside story
How did you come to make this photo?
I took the photo for the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, for a special report on the 450 th remembrance of Sao Paulo in 2004. It was taken away from apache helicopters following a suggestion of my fellow members Marlene Bergamo. But when I took it, I had no theory it would become so popular.
What does the photo show, in your opinion?
It is clearly an sketch of social inequality, maybe the most serious problem for Brazil and Latin America. The unfair and merciles discrepancies between rich and poor, acquired from slavery, is in the origin of many other problems- cruelty, below-par schooling, sexism and many other issues.
Inequality means that someone who is poorer is obliged to work more, so they have no time to study, which impacts on their education. As a reaction, they are not able to develop the critical and government awareness necessary to transform their own place. Add to this the absence of any gumption of the collective responsibility or solidarity among the privileged in Brazil, and you have a shut roundabout that is very difficult to break.
I am happy to have made a photograph that expresses this problem and has acquired important, especially in view of the immense length of picture that we grow today. But deep down, I would rather it didn’t exist.
On your Facebook you publicized a photograph in which you’re showing it to[ former chairperson] Lula at the Lula Institute in Sao Paulo. What was his action ? strong>
I said to him,” Lula, this photo is only one of the most well-known from Brazil, just as much now as abroad. It was take place within 2004 and circulated in various places around the world during the period when you were president. I believe it illustrates the biggest of all the problems in Brazil, and I want to believe that it symbolises your struggle .” He looked at it in silence- and it is not easy to leave Lula in silence …