The fourth meeting of Favelas em Foto (Favelas in Photo) took place in Santa Marta on Saturday, May 19, organized by the photography collective Favela em Foco (Favela in Focus) in partnership with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. The event brought together residents of Santa Marta and photographers to discuss the creative photography process and the role of photography in favelas’ memories and history. The event, which aimed to “hear Santa Marta residents’ opinions about the photos produced in the locale,” was an open discussion between professionals and laypeople with an interest in images.
This edition of Favelas em Foto took place at the Ponto de Cultura Aos Pés do Santa Marta, a cultural and artistic center coordinated by Robespierre Avila. Photographer Antoine Horenbeek captured scenes from the exchange for RioOnWatch.
All participants around the table introduced themselves and explained their relationship to photography.
Erika Tambke, photographer and a co-organizer of Favelas em Foto (along with photographer Luiz Baltar), introduced the purpose of the event. Tambke is also teaching at a photography workshop for residents of Santa Marta from May 21 to May 25.
Various photos representing particular moments in the favela’s history—taken by photographers from Santa Marta or elsewhere—were arranged on a table. The goal was to choose pictures to start a discussion and spark participants’ memories.
A picture taken by photographer Ana Campbell:
All participants—whether photographer, teacher, tour guide, psychologist, or other, and whether resident of Santa Marta or not—took part in the game. The selected photos started passionate discussions about the difficulties of being a photographer, both funny and intense moments in Santa Marta’s history, photojournalism, and tourism in favelas, among other topics. The conversation sometimes brought out strong emotions from those present.
Following events in Providência, Vila Kennedy, and Manguinhos, the final Favelas em Foto event will take place in June and will bring together all of the content discussed and recorded in each community to catalyze a general reflection about photography’s role in Rio’s favelas.