TIME Out There

Rio’s Piscinão de Ramos by Julio Bittencourt

Brazilian photographer Julio Bittencourt explores the "Big Pool" of Ramos, in Rio: an artificial lake that draws together people from the 15 favelas surrounding it.

When most people think of beaches in Rio, images of the beautiful Copacabana or a sunset in Ipanema usually come to mind. But a few miles from these icons of Brazilian landscape sits an artificial lake not far from a polluted beach.

Piscinão de Ramos, or “big pool of Ramos”, is where thousands of people who live in the surrounding favelas, or slums, of Rio choose to go every summer. Julio Bittencourt, a young Brazilian photographer, was fascinated by its uniqueness. Over the last three years, he photographed the beach-goers of Ramos and was received with curious gazes and smiles.

“There are certain things that you only see in beaches in Brazil,” says Bittencourt. “Cariocas (locals of Rio) have a very special humor, very unique. I think all the humor and irony involved in the images are probably the most ‘Rio’ part of the work. It’s there all the time and you’re just struck by it every time you go there.”

The simplicity of life also caught Bittencourt’s attention. “Most of those people live their everyday lives with very little,” he says. But when they’re in Ramos, “they can forget about work and their problems. It makes you think how small your own problems are.”

Bittencourt’s work entitled “Ramos” will be exhibited from Sept. 21 to Jan. 28, 2011 at 1500 Gallery in New York, which exclusively features work by Brazilian photographers.

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