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June 20, 2013

Striking Protest Images from Brasilia's National Congress: the People on Top For a Change?

News Photo: Students shout slognas after taking the National Congress…

News Photo: Students shout slognas after taking the National Congress…

News Photo: Students shout slognas after taking the National Congress…

Several photographers I was talking to to last week at Look3 were expressing frustration about covering protests, feeling they have become anachronistic. I’m just wondering if people in Turkey and Brazil are feeling the same way. I was particularly taken by the photos on Tuesday from Brasilia of protestors in front of, and standing on the classic National Congress of Brazil, designed in the late 50’s – early’60’s by the (leftist) architect Oscar Niemeyer.

The question is, how meaningful is it to see the bodies of protesters in large silhouettes against the skin of this iconic structure, one so equated with modernism? Is it just fanciful or cool, or can we take it as something more symbolic — as the citizen in these developing countries acquiring a truly larger profile?

News Photo: Students shout slognas after taking the National Congress…

News Photo: Students shout slognas after taking the National Congress…

I especially like this one, the way it speaks to business-as-usual below (another case of the upper class captured unwittingly once again in one of their boxes?) while the people, awesome and even lyrical in these apparitions, are on top of the power structure for a change.

(photos: Evaristo SA/AFP/Getty Images. caption:  Students shout slognas after taking the National Congress during a protest, on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of major Brazilian cities protesting the billions of dollars spent on the Confederations Cup –and preparations for the upcoming World Cup– and against the hike in mass transit fares.)

  • black_dog_barking

    The shades looming over the gathering are indeed awesome, maybe even a bit on the terrifying side but the last image drives home the point of Plato’s allegory of the cave: reality ain’t shadows on the wall. That may be all we can see but it’s not what’s really happening. Reality is happening in the light.

  • Scarabus

    Michael, can you say a bit more about what the photographers meant by “anachronistic”?

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      Ineffective.

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