By Walker Dawson
I spent three weeks filming and conducting interviews for our upcoming documentary series on Carnaval. We worked with Mayor Eduardo Paes’ international communications team in the Palácio da Cidade covering all aspects of Carnival, while focusing on what goes on behind the scenes. Here is a selection of my favorite shots.
In recent years there’s been lots of negative press concerning Rio and the upcoming olympics. The goal of this project is to document all the hard work and organization to show a side of Carnival that tourists and international press often overlook.
Ipanema beach at sunset, looking out towards Dois Irmãos.
Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio, starting the week of Carnival celebrations at the City Hall. The mayor began Carnival by handing off the key to the city to the King Momo, the official King of Carnival, joking that the King will now inherit all of the cities problems. Eduardo Paes has been busy hosting the World Cup last summer and the Olympic Games in 2016. Despite the stress, Paes is a pragmatic and energetic man who loves Carnival and Samba as much as any Carioca. Paes once said, “I don’t want to compare my city to Zurich, thank God we’re not that boring.”
Raquel getting ready to dance like a Baiana (a woman from Bahia, Brazil) at the Cordão do Boitatá.
Cordão do Boitatá in the histrotic old city of Rio.
Taking a break before Cordão do Boitatá begins at Praça XV.
Raquel preparing another costume.
The people you find in the back alleys of Rio during Carnival.
The Sambódromo around 2:30am, with many hours of parades to go
Lady from Vila Isabel, waiting in the rain for hours before entering the Sambódromo.
Rio is eager to clean up its image before the 2016 Olympic Games. Much of the cities waterfront was once an area with elevated freeways, homeless, crime and trash. Last year the city tore down the freeway, is converting the new spaces into parks and plazas, and planting new trees and plants with the intention of radically changing the area. The area is known as the Porto Maravilha (the Marvelous Port), and it is one of the largest urban renewal projects in Latin America.
Inside the Porto Maravilha area the new Museu do Arte do Rio examines Rio’s past and present. I’ve never seen a museum that portrayes histroy, race, economics and gentrification so honestly. The exhibition Do Valongo à Favela (from Valonga to the Favela) traces Rio’s histroy from the slave port to the contemporary favelas.
Exhibitions also examine gentrification, fighting for public space.
Praia Vermelha and Pão de Açúcar.
View from the top of Pão de Açúcar.
A few blocks from the Museu de Arte do Rio is the wonderful Pedra da Sal. This area was once where the slaves from Africa were bought and sold, and it is rumored to be where samba was born. Today it atracts people from many walks of life who come from the samba, the spicy food, the art and the good times.
Samba in Pedra da Sal.
The old and the new in Porto Maravilha.
I spent the last few days in Rio exploring Zona Norte. This is the Complexo do Alemão, one of the largest favelas in Rio, which now has a gondola which facilitates transport to the rest of the city.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.