Ridout Photography » Blogging From The Edge

6th Congresso Paulista Da Foto and Paraty Brasil

Chantal and I had a great time in Brasil and especially during our workshop at the FHOX convention, 6th Congresso Paulista Da Foto. I’m sure that some of what I said may have been lost in translation but for the most part Hank (the interpreter) was able to keep up. I know that at times I would be speaking like a gas fed duck and then remember I was in a different country who’s mother tongue is Portuguese. We toured around the city for a few days with photographers Jeffery & Julia Woods and fellow Canadians Jennifer & Stephen Bebb. After the day long workshop the organizers sent us to the town of Paraty to relax and get away from the city of Sao Paulo and it’s congested streets. Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brasil with an estimated population of approx. 12,000,000 people living in a 1,500 square kilometre (588 sq. miles) area. Sao Paulo ranks 1st as the most populated city in the Southern Hemisphere. What they didn’t realize is that I love photography and the optimum light is early AM and PM just before dusk, so relaxing just didn’t happen ๐Ÿ™‚ Each day I would get up at 6:00AM and head out onto the streets. Theย  Hotel Coxixo accommodations wereย  incredible.

Paraty is known for the cobblestone paved streets throughout the Historic Center District. No cars or trucks are allowed in this part of town, only foot traffic or bicycles. Motor vehicles are only allowed in the Historic District on Wednesdays for deliveries. Horses and carts are a very common sight in Paraty and are frequently used all around the city. Paraty has been able to maintain many of its historic buildings. Much of the architecture of the city has not changed for 250 years or more.

After the discovery of the world’s richest gold mines in 1696 in the mountains of Minas Gerais, Paraty became an export port for gold to Rio de Janeiro and from there on to Portugal. The ensuing gold rush led to the construction of the “Caminho do Ouro” or “Gold Trail”, a 1200 kilometer road, paved in steep areas with large stones, which connected Paraty to Diamantina and Tiradentes. Not only was it was used to transport gold to Paraty, but it was also used to convey supplies, miners and African slaves by mule train over the mountains to and from the gold mining areas. Two substantial sections of the Caminho do Ouro have been excavated near Paraty and are now a popular tourist destination for hiking.

The Gold Trail fell into disuse because of attacks on the gold laden ships bound for Rio de Janeiro by pirates who frequented the islands and coves of the Bay of Angra dos Reis. Eventually a safer overland route from Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro was created because of these pirate raids. Finally, the gold itself began to run out in the late 1700s, and Paraty declined.
Thanks to Portuguese engineering involving an ingenious curvature of the cobblestone streets, Paraty is home to a unique phenomenon. Once a month when there is a Full Moon and the tide is high, seawater rises from its normal levels, and pours into the Historic Center District through special openings in the seawalls that separate the city from the harbor. The streets are only flooded for a short time, until the tide recedes. The water is usually only six to ten inches deep and a few merchants near the seawall put out small bridges to span the flooded streets for the benefit of pedestrians. Fortunately for us the streets were dry, the weather was spectacular and as always the Brazilian hospitality over the top. Hopefully we can share our photography passions again with our Brazilian friends.

To see a larger version click on the image

Brasil Students

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below: The Brazilian version of street meat

The Corn Man

below: Stephen Bebb practicing his conference program.

Bebb Man

Brazilian Model

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Free enterprise in Brazil. A street merchant selling Sugar Cane Broth. Similar to us selling shots of paint thinner on the side of the highway. Yikes!… I liked his Visa marketing and stand ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mark Ridout - Thanks Trina come again ๐Ÿ™‚

Mark Ridout - In Sao Paulo I would not wonder out alone in the evening. As far as during the day I was always with Chantal who would protect me should a situation arrise. As far as Paraty I did not have any issues wandering the streets early in the morning or into the evening. I do not take a tripod….to much hassle with luggage and dragging it around. I believe regardless of where you shoot, Canada, USA , Cuba, Brazil….one must always be aware of what is going on around you.

Neal Jacob - I don’t know if you just heard that, but that was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

I love the cart with the Visa umbrellas! “VISA! It’s everywhere you want to be!” LOL! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rick - Hello Mark, welcome back! dude, seriously, I am so envious of you! I love Brasil!. My wife is Brazilian from Rio and we also visited Paraty back in 2006 and your photos brought back some great memories! I have to ask, what did you think or how did you feel about the security of taking photos in Sao Paulo or Paraty? Personally, I was not worried one bit but my wife never let me keep my camera out of the backpack long enough to really get what I wanted. I think her mom got inside her head that there were thieves around every corner and I came home somewhat disappointed. When you went out early in the am, did you go with anyone or bring a tripod? That would certainly attract attention. We stayed in a hotel just south of Angra for about 10 days and had a blast! I definitely want to go back but this time with more than a 24-70. thanks for the great images! i knew we could count on you!

Sebastian - Amazing work, keep it coming!

trina - ah-glad you’re back to the blog, mark. wonderful to look at.

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