Travel

Photographing the Families of Rio de Janeiro's Favelas

Antonello Veneri's latest project, "Interiores da Maré," documents the lives and homes of people living in the city's infamous slums.

by Antonello Veneri
Oct 1 2015, 2:20pm

All photos by Antonello Veneri

This article originally appeared on VICE Brazil.

Two years ago, Interiores da Maré (Maré's Indoors)—a photographic document of one of Rio de Janeiro's most beautiful and problematic communities, Complexo da Maré—came to life.

Since August of 2013, and with the help of musician and cultural producer Henrique Gomes, I've been developing this photographic essay centered around the homes of the people who inhabit the area's 16 favelas.

Why make a series like this in the middle of the chaos that was the pacification of Rio in advance of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics? Mostly because nobody had done it before—perhaps because the idea of taking indoor family portraits is so simple and obvious that nobody bothered to actually do it. There are plenty of pictures of the facades of houses, the streets, and the dynamics of public spaces, but simple images of families in their homes are quite rare. This isn't just a photographic essay that tells the stories of specific families, but an essay about the evolution of the Brazilian family unit as a whole. With this project, I aim to photograph 100 families and won't be finished until 2016.

In September I opened the Interiores da Maré exhibition at the modern arts festival Travessias 4, one of the most important cultural events in the city. Some of the photos will also be hung in the streets of the favelas. All images will be printed life-size, because I think it's important for people to see each and every detail—and also because there are so many different realities contained within these communities. There are straight families, gay couples, single mothers, female-headed households and everything in between. There is no single design to the people who live there.

These are the people of Maré.