Return to Rio….
I am heading tomorrow for Rio… Yes, again… For me, there will always be an “again.” Love the place. The ambiance, the life, the people, the whole “theater” that is Rio de Janeiro. For a storyteller, a dream come true.
Sure all cities have all kinds of life. Yet Rio has something special. Perhaps it is the pure physicality of it. It looks like an amphitheater geographically. The city is like a Shakespearean stage. Set between mountains and sea. The kaleidoscope of cultures spilling down on to the stage, the rich, the poor, the good, the bad, the lovers, the haters, the buyers, the sellers, the chosen, the lonely, and everything in between all blended together rather compactly on to this crescent beach. If you cannot find a story here, then you may just have no stories to tell. I swear with Rio you just can’t miss.
So I return for several reasons. First of all, I have no problem admitting that I can simply sit under an umbrella at Posto 9 and sip caipirinhas for the better part of an afternoon. Lazy as hell. No problem. Normally, I cannot sit very long on any beach without getting bored quickly, except for Rio where there is just too too much to see. Too much to feel. Too much to shoot.
The main reason I am going now however is to play out the promise that I made to this audience and to my Carioca friends. We have indeed printed a “magazine” version of my book (based on a true story), which is sold out.
A large format magazine version of the book will be distributed gratis by my BurnBooks team in Rio, primarily in the favelas where I did so much shooting. As a payback and pay forward gesture to the Rio community.
I was able to work inside of every disparate demographic group in Rio. All of them allowing me “in.” I was allowed in with official Rio and unofficial Rio. I had no agenda nor mandate other than to document each sub culture with integrity and honesty. I think they felt this, because they let me do it. So my appreciative payback time. As promised.
I always make prints for the people I photograph, or at least email them a photo. This I have done for 40 years wherever I was shooting. Rio was no exception. However, over the years, I was always shooting for mostly NatGeo and I had no way ever to actually distribute what I had done. A hard copy of my work in their community was always not really available for most of the people.
Now I can. Now I will. So we, my BurnBooks team, Eva-Maria Kunz and Candy Pilar Godoy, and my Rio friends Roberta, Renata Tavares and “Tonico” Monteiro (all characters in the book by the way) will create a few events in the next two weeks and give for free 2,500 copies of the large format magazine version of (based on a true story). This is exactly half of our press run. The rest of the run will be sold at the lowest possible price to help us cover our costs for the giveaway in Brazil.
This whole process of creating (based on a true story) should I think be some kind of model for photographers who are confused about a future in photography. Not the details, just the idea of independence. We did this book 100% independently. We created the online “join us in Rio” for a buck99 for the shooting of the “character” part of the book, we built the book, designed the book, printed the book in Italy and then distributed it here on Burn at an ascending price range for collectors. Sold out. Why?
Well it was hand assembled, crafted to use the very best materials, innovative design, and with a unique story to tell. Sure BurnBooks is a “mom and pop operation”. A boutique store so to speak. Yet I personally will always feel compelled to not make anything elitist. Sure the book is crafted for collectors (I see myself as an artisan) and yet also either for free or for low cost to everyone else who might be interested. A win win game I think.
The big winners here should be you.
We are looking now at various projects by a variety of photographers to produce their books. BurnBooks is a very very small brand yet we have done now 5 books and sold them all out and taken some accolades along the way. So for sure we will now do books for other photographers. (based on a true story) was the only book we have done of my own work. I will make rare cameo appearances on Burn. I began BurnBooks by mentoring and promoting the “Yakuza” book project by my Burn colleague Anton Kusters, and following up with Burn 01 and Burn 02, “One Goal” by Allison O’Keefe (PDN award winner, Diego Orlando producer), and producing now “Beer, Bait, and Ammo” by Michael Loyd Young. We also did a special edition of Mike’s “Changes In Latitude”.
Soon you will be I hope pleasantly surprised to see several new books being produced by BurnBooks. Some from iconic photographers you well know, and others by my reason for being here emerging photographers who deserve to be iconic.
So stay tuned. My (based on a true story) is about to become a true story.