Christian Franz Tragni

Brazilian Beauties

Christian Franz Tragni is an Italian photographer from Milan who moved to Brazil ten years ago, first experiencing life in Rio and then in Sao Paulo. He worked for magazines and newspapers in his homeland for a number of years, and he is currently based in the Brazilian metropolis, where he collaborates with local media companies such as Folha de Sao Paulo and Carta Capital. His reports for the american agency Redux Pictures cover key events and news from Brazil, and are distributed in Italy via Contrasto and England via Eyevine. His most important works are published on Time Magazine, the New Yorker, the Financial Times and National Geographic. Clients also include: Havaianas, Sanofi, GDF, Suez and Kartel.

“I stepped in a room filled with preconceptions; botox, plastic surgery, aesthetics enhancements, the reluctance to face age. I wasn’t sure what I would encounter throughout this catwalk of ladies over-60, but the intention was to negatively centre the report on these aspects. During the job however I realized that the outcast, the cynical presence in this event was me. The splendid ladies of Sao Paulo’s outskirts were simply having fun, enjoying themselves for a day. Beautiful, fun and comfortable in front of the camera, I could truly see their attractiveness and sensuality, the subjects that I finally aimed to portray with my shoot. Go ladies over 60!!!”

Brazilian Beauties is accompanied by a poem of renowned brazilian poetess Alice Ruiz, ‘A Bela Adormencide no Espelho’.

I believe that representing reality as it is, beyond expectations and preconception, is the correct approach to have towards photography.

What are the things that passionate you about the world of photography?

Primarily the chance to tell stories through images, but also the instant creation of a bond between the observer and realities to him remote or undiscovered. This helps the photographer develop a sense of awareness towards topics and situations that well too often fall into collective disinterest.

The splendid ladies of Sao Paulo’s outskirts were simply having fun, enjoying themselves for a day

In your work, do you plan a project in advance and foresee the final results, or do you believe in improvisation and chance?

I normally try to have an idea of the subject I will come across and how I would like to portray it, however, it is often the case that I will find myself facing unexpected circumstances or situations once I get to the scheduled location. It is at this stage that I will live the large part of my job that requires spontaneity and that cannot be planned in advance. I find this to be a positive aspect of the work I do to some extent, and I believe that representing reality as it is, beyond expectations and preconception, is the correct approach to have towards photography.

What led you to Brazil?

I initially moved to Brazil due to personal, affective reasons, but what thrives me to persevere in this experience after ten years is definitely related to the attributes of a country that is so different from my own and that is continuously facing severe social, political and economic transformations. I have seen a number of different countries before coming here, but always for short trips and for very specific reasons. After my traveling experiences, I developed an interest and a strong willingness to explore a new reality entirely, to fully understand it, in its standards and dynamics.

Ten years ago, the beauty contest of women over 60 would have not existed, and these ladies would have had more concrete tasks to take care of, probably less fun and certainly less ephemeral. There are many faces to progress, and situations such as this one are examples of  its outcome.

What does it mean to have lived for 10 year in a country that faced, during this time, a huge social and economic change?

Throughout the past ten years the country has changed a lot. The economic boom and an improving sense of socio/political consciousness made it possible for the lower classes to face better standards of living. At the same time, from a photographic and journalistic standpoint, this change strongly influenced a lifestyle subject that became, over the years, almost signature of Latin America, making it lose some of its most interesting aspects and characteristics. Having said that, Brazil remains an extremely stimulating country due to the mixture of ethnical and cultural backgrounds that it hosts, and it will always stand out – in the good and the evil – for its ability to somehow bring extreme emotions into people. Like many other countries that faced fast paced economic and social changes, a process that often brings the worst out of individual morality and responsibilities, today’s Brazilian society finds itself in a difficult situation, and hopes to find a clear, new identity for itself.

After my traveling experiences, I developed an interest and a strong willingness to explore a new reality entirely, to fully understand it, in its standards and dynamics.

What leads you to choose and undertake specific projects such as this one on Brazilian beauties?

Normally I would base the choice for a project based on my personal interest and the general interest around a specific topic. The things that typically attract me are linked to social aspects of life and have a strong aesthetic potential, which I reckon to be very important aspects of the photographic world. I generally aim to portray the transformations that are faced by society and this specific project recounts the huge influence that western attitudes and lifestyles have had on Brazilian people, especially in cosmopolitan cities such as Sao Paulo. Ten years ago, the beauty contest of women over 60 would have not existed, and these fun ladies from the outskirts of the city would have had more concrete tasks to take care of, probably less fun and certainly less ephemeral. There are many faces to progress, and situations such as this one are examples of  its outcome.

Brazilian poetess Alice Ruiz composed the beautiful piece ‘A Bela Adormencide no Espelho’ (Sleeping Beauty on the Mirror) to match Christian’s portraits

A BELA ADORMECIDA NO ESPELHO

Há mulher mais bela que eu?

Olhar doce
azul turquesa
abertos à força de rímel?

Olhos que não vêem
coração que não sente
fotografia em movimentos
suaves, suaves, suaves.

Do outro lado
pano de fundo
o mundo.

Retorno contorno da boca
por dentro, catatonia
não transparece
na aparência oca.

Ombro reto
sobrancelha arqueada
falta pouco
para ser amada.

Caricatura, minha cara
ranhura na moldura
essa ruga
não devia estar aí
se multiplica
contra a vontade
no tempo gasto
para não deixar
aparecer o tempo.

Me diga espelho meu.

 

Alice Ruiz

SLEEPING BEAUTY ON THE MIRROR

Who is the fairest one of all?

Sweet gaze
turquoise blue
forced open with mascara?

Eyes that do not see
heart that does not feel
a photograph in movements
gently, gently, gently.

On the other end
the background
the world.

Following the contours of the mouth
within, catatonic
it does not transpire
from this hollow appearance.

Raised shoulder
arched eyebrow
not much longer now
to be loved.

Caricature, my face
a scratch on the mould
that wrinkle
should not be there
it multiplies
unwillingly
in spent time
so as to not allow
time to appear

Tell me, magic mirror on the wall.

 

Alice Ruiz

Andrzej Klimowski & Danusia Schejbal

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