Thursday, October 04, 2007

Theme & Variation - Rua da Alfandega

I keep noticing a certain pattern to the things that appeal to me in the photographs I've been taking recently. I am very attracted to images of clusters of repeat objects or things. I love neat store shelves and supermarket aisles, specially when I see rows of a repeat products perfectly aligned in a pattern. I find beauty also in everyday things that have been casually grouped, without prior thought. I guess I just like visual repetition of a theme or color. It could be a row of chairs, a discount bin, a stack of plastic bowls or a stylized shop window. I don't have any aspirations or claim to be a good photographer, nor do I use professional equipment, so pardon my lack of technique. My little Sony camera is serving me very well so far. I decided to name this new series "Theme & Variation" to paraphrase Piero Fornasetti, one of my favorite designers of all times.

All these images here were taken at Rua da Alfandega, in downtown Rio, that is a popular (read low-end) shopping area. There are about 6 or 7 rows of long narrow streets, chock full of "stuff" for sale, spreading out of the stores into the side walks. They call this area SAARA, the name of it's commercial association, and it's well known as a bargain hunter's paradise. There you can buy carnaval costumes, boot-leg DVDs, budget kid's toys, clothing, house goods and anything else you can imagine. Nowadays there is a new wave of Korean and Chinese merchants flooding the streets with Made in Asia discount merchandise, from electronics to cheap plastic stuff. It's definitely worth the visit, if not to shop just for the Brazilian cultural experience.

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